Legislature Passes Jaffee bill to Address Child Care Crisis

“It’s time for New York to develop a comprehensive plan to develop a statewide strategy for significantly expanding access to quality, affordable child care for all children and families, and for providing fair wages and benefits, and a path to professionalism for all childcare workers. This bill is an important first step in that process.” -Empire Justice Center
June 15, 2017

Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) today announced passage in both the Assembly and the Senate of legislation she sponsored (A.7726-A/ S.5929a (Avella)) that would create a child care task force to evaluate child care needs and the availability of affordable child care across New York State. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens).

“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, a top priority is ensuring that our hardworking families have access to high-quality, affordable child care and early childhood education,” Jaffee said. “Two-thirds of all families are now headed by parents in the workforce and most work full-time by the time their children are three. Safe, quality care is critical for a child’s early development, and enables parents to stay in the workforce, pursue their education, and lift themselves out of poverty.”

In New York State, the average annual cost of center-based child care for just one child is $14,144, which is nearly twice as much as a year’s worth of college tuition at SUNY or CUNY schools.1 New York has the fourth most expensive child care costs in the nation. An average New York family has to spend over 20 percent of its income to pay for child care for a single infant, and that number skyrockets to 38.7 percent to pay for care for both an infant and a 4-year-old.2 For single-parent or low-income families, the numbers are even starker. Center-based care for two children accounts for nearly 100 percent of a single parent’s income.3

“Families, children and our communities are facing a significant child care crisis. Providers are struggling and need support so that they can maintain their programs and their childcare workers,” Jaffee said. “The evidence, following decades of analysis is clear and convincing; investments in quality child care more than pay for themselves, with benefits for children, families, schools, employers, communities and taxpayers.”

Issues under the task force’s purview would include access to subsidized child care, the quality of care, the availability of hours outside of the traditional work day, the impact of child care access on employees and economic development.

Members of the task force would be appointed by the Governor, based on recommendations from the Assembly Speaker and Temporary President of the Senate, representatives of child care resource and referral agencies, child care providers and would include at least two parents who have utilized subsidized child care to ensure the people most affected by the affordable care crisis are front and center at the table.

The task force would be required to report its findings to the Legislature by the end of the year.