In light of the several significant cuts to Suffolk County’s subsidized child care program, Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) has taken action to protect the many families who rely on the program by co-writing a letter, alongside several other Suffolk County Assemblymembers, to the commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, urging the agency to review and permanently restore funding.
“Nearly 1,200 children have been dropped from the subsidized child care program as result of these cuts,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “The program is one of the only ways that the many working poor families in Suffolk County can both provide care for their children and work full time. To squeeze these families out of full-time employment due to a lack of affordable child care does not make sense. It is unfair and only serves to hurt our economy more.”
This recent reduction in funding is the third of its kind in the past year. As demand for the program has grown, county officials have been forced to tighten income eligibility requirements, pushing out families that are barely over the federal poverty line and used to be eligible for this program.i A federal court ruling recently reinstated some of the funding for the subsidized child care program due to a legal technicality, but the threat of more cuts is a realistic possibility, noted Assemblyman Ramos.
“The county is taking away necessary aid and lowering income eligibility requirements to absurdly low levels, while the cost of living in Suffolk County keeps rising and unemployment levels remain high, and our families – who are struggling to get by as it is – are just expected to deal with it,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “I will not stand for that. I refuse to sit by and watch the devastating toll these funding cuts take on our community and will do everything I can to make sure this funding is permanently restored.”
“Cutting child care is extraordinarily counter-productive, as it forces families to choose between proper care for their children and work obligations. Providing the child care subsidy is a prudent investment that supports working families,” said Assemblyman Bob Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst).
“I recently conveyed to Commissioner Carrion my opposition to any changes that would reduce funding to Suffolk County for child care subsidies,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor). “Given the current economic climate, the demand for child care is increasing and agency policy should not be moving in the opposite direction. We must continue to meet the needs of our residents and children by providing child care opportunities for working individuals and families. I pledge to work with my legislative colleagues to ensure that there will be no adverse impacts to the child care system and, in turn, local families.”
“Child care is a vitally important component of maintaining and creating jobs for working families,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). “To fight unemployment in Suffolk, the continued erosion of child care block grant funding must be halted and reversed. I applaud Assemblyman Phil Ramos for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with him, my other colleagues and officials from Suffolk County to reverse this job killing, counterproductive policy of cutting funding for child care.”