Press release from governor.ny.gov.
Governor Kathy Hochul today, with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, launched a statewide multi-media campaign to help ensure eligible families access child care assistance. Administered by the state Office of Children and Family Services, eligibility for child care assistance was expanded this month to include families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which is up from 200 percent, extending eligibility to an estimated 394,000 young children throughout New York. As of this month, a family of four earning up to $83,250 is now eligible for child care assistance when previously, the threshold was $55,500 or less. Governor Hochul also announced expanded eligibility for a second round of federally funded Child Care Provider Stabilization grants. As of today, all school-age child care programs and more than 900 providers that were licensed by January 1, 2022 can apply for these grants.
"As New York's first Governor who is a mom, I know firsthand how important affordable child care can be for your future and your family," Governor Hochul said. "By increasing the income threshold for child care assistance, we can relieve a crushing burden for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and, especially, working mothers. My administration has made historic investments in child care, and this statewide multi-media campaign is the latest crucial step we are taking to help ensure families receive the assistance they need and deserve."
"The shortage of affordable child care in our state is nothing short of a crisis," said Senator Gillibrand. "We have to do more to support our families and our child care workers. That's why I'm proud to have fought to pass the American Rescue Plan and the CARES Act, legislation that is now delivering millions in federal funding to New York's child care providers and making care more accessible and affordable for those who need it. This expanded funding will help parents across our state return to work with the knowledge that their children are in good hands while giving child care workers the resources they need to be successful. I'll keep working with Governor Hochul to ensure that all New York families have the support they need to thrive."
The child care assistance campaign is focused on urging New Yorkers to access this benefit so they can receive help paying for high-quality child care, which is one of the largest expenses for families after the cost of housing. Starting today, OCFS will begin a billboard, radio and social media campaign to let families know they can receive help paying for child care. The campaign will feature content on digital screens in retail locations, highway billboards, bus side posters, laundromats, salons and barbershops in English and Spanish.
Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, the campaign will begin today in areas outside of New York City and then in October in areas within the five-borough region. Families can learn more by visiting OCFS.ny.gov/ccap.
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said, "The most significant message is that we can help more families than ever pay for child care. The funding is available if someone is going back to work, is already working, is receiving training or is going to school. Parents should go online or call their local department of social services to see if they're eligible. And we're thrilled that this funding will also support our hard-working child care providers for doing some of the most important work out there."
Governor Hochul also announced that all school age child care programs and more than 900 providers that were licensed after January 1 can now apply for the second round of child care provider stabilization grants. As part of the FY 2023 budget, $343 million was allocated for the stabilization grants, with 75 percent of the funding dedicated to workforce supports. These grants can be used to provide wage increases, bonuses, tuition reimbursement and contributions to staff retirement plans and health insurance costs.
The Governor previously announced that providers licensed before January 1 could apply for this funding. To date, more than $152 million in stabilization grants has been approved for 7,788 providers across the state in the second round of funding. This includes $108 million in bonuses or increases in wages; $8 million in contributions to staff retirement plans supplementing any employer contribution; $6.4 million in contributions towards staff health insurance costs; $4.2 million in mental health supports and services for staff; $9.7 million in supplemental educational advancement or tuition reimbursement; and $15.7 million for other eligible expenses. Last year, more than $900 million in funds was distributed to child care providers, representing a historic investment in early childhood care and education.
Eligible providers can access more information here.
The income threshold increase resulted from Governor Hochul's historic $2 billion investment to increase the number of families eligible for child care assistance and to ensure child care providers are adequately funded for their essential services. This investment includes $894 million in new funding for New York State Child Care Block Grants, which was adopted as part of the recent State Budget; more than $500 million in unspent funds previously allocated to local departments of social services; and more than $600 million in existing COVID-19 pandemic funding.
These announcements are part of the historic investments made in the FY 2023 Budget which includes an unprecedented $7 billion investment over four years and expands access to high-quality child care to support children and families and help stimulate New York State's continued economic recovery.