June 1, 2015
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – On May 28th a New York City Council delegation held a demonstration at City Hall to protest the closing of fourteen City day care centers. The City continues to disregard an outstanding service the daycare centers provide to children and communities.
As a result of the cost cutting by the Administration for Children's Services, thousands of youngsters 2 to 4 are being displaced in many neighborhoods and hundreds of educators unemployed. Lead by Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo and joined by other elected officials and parents of the fourteen daycare centers slated for closure, the group urged the Administration for Children's Services to keep the centers doors open.
"Stability and a high-quality education are crucial in the intellectual and social development of our children," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women's Issues. "The closure of our daycare centers would be detrimental to our community and places an undue burden on working families. Our youngest scholars deserve a fair opportunity to learn and excel, not a game of musical chairs with the redistribution of slots."
Earlier this year, the Administration for Children's Services put forth its EarlyLearn RFP or Request for Proposals. Fourteen EarlyLearn providers did not receive an award from ACS although these centers provide critical education and health services to young children. Without the approval of ACS a city supported daycare center cannot continue to operate. ACS has decided to close these centers as a cost saving measure displacing thousands of young children and disrupting lives of working families from diverse communities.
"Low-income parents in New York City are worried about making the rent. They're worried about what the summer months will bring for the safety of their children and communities. They're juggling all of these worries, and work and child-rearing. It's stressful and I'm unhappy that the city's management of its childcare contracts is adding to their stress," said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., chair of the Committee on Small Business. "Families need and deserve stability in this area of their lives. We need to support them by ensuring that the excellent providers to which they entrust their children continue to serve the communities they know and love. Let's save these slots and save these providers!"
The city is planning to close the following early childhood educational centers: Young Minds Day Care Center, the Pine Street Day Care Center, the Tremont Crotona Day Care Center, the Mary Walton Children's Center, the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center, the Williamsbridge Day Care, the Nasry Michelin Day Care Center, the Pamela C. Torres Day Care Center, Children's Growing Place, Small World Day Care, Afro-American Parents Day Care Center, and the Colony South Brooklyn Houses. These programs that provide critical services to families and stabilize neighborhoods are targeted for closure by New York City.
"For more than 30 years, the Young Minds Day Care Center has proudly served the families of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Our continuity and reliability for childcare services to parents over the past three decades has meant returning generations of family members who have entrusted us with their children. Given our successful track record, the closure of this Center would be a devastating loss for more than 100 families who deserve universal Pre-K, childcare services, and after-school programming within their communities," said Claudette Macey, executive director, Fort Greene Council, Inc.
Day care centers help to make neighborhoods a safe place to raise healthy children and families. Closing sites across the city disrupts the education and welfare of our youngest New Yorkers. It also creates a heavy burden for parents. Since 2012, ACS has laid waste to many child care centers. The City needs to stop this slow bleed of our community's early childhood education providers. ACS needs to work with local officials and expand the services not eliminate these programs.
"Closing these centers will put many families is dangerous situations, such as paying for unlicensed care or leaving children home alone. In some cases, a parent or guardian will be forced to quit their job to stay home with the kids. There's no better place for our kids during the day than a learning environment. I urge the Mayor and the ACS to reconsider and find funding to keep these day care centers open. In these economic times, the city needs to do all it can to support and encourage families," said Council Member Andy King, co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.