Governor Hochul pushes for more statewide childcare

Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 5:38 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - As part of her 2023 State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul says 113,000 more families will become eligible for childcare.

“Inflation has still gone up, right? So now we’re going to raise it for the first time ever, to the highest level eligible under federal law, 85% of New York median income, which is approximately $93,200 a year,” said Hochul.

The cost of childcare will also go down. Part of the plan to do so involves capping family co-payments at 1% over the federal poverty level.

In 2022, Hochul also announced a $7 billion investment in childcare.

However, families have yet to access a lot of those resources.

“Here’s the crazy thing , money is there, the programs are there, but families aren’t accessing it,” said Hochul.

The Governor says less than 10% of eligible families have enrolled for available childcare.

Hochul says part of it has to do with how hard the application process is.

“So families should be able to prescreen for eligibility online, fill out the forms for all 62 counties, remove all the unnecessary reporting,” she said.

Governor Hochul says a simplified online application with pre-screening for eligibility will increase the number of families that submit an application successfully.

Families that are part of state programs like SNAP, Home Energy Assistance, Medicaid, and WIC do not have to prove income eligibility.

Hochul is also working on a new workforce retention grant program for child care providers which includes sign on bonuses to help with recruitment. The Empire State Campaign for Childcare is a campaign that focuses on equitable access to quality childcare.

In a press release, the campaign says it supports Hochul’s push for better pay, but suggests sign on bonuses should start soon and also include a plan to increase wages.