February 22, 2011
By Letitia James
The Administration of Children’s Services plans to eliminate 16, 624 child care slots, apparently due to a loss of federal funds, which will hurt low and moderate income families. Children may be put in unregulated care, and/or parents may have to stay at home to care for them. Also, thousands of child care workers will lose their jobs, and the majority of these employees are women.
The hypocrisy of this administration is baffling; Mayor Bloomberg talks about importance of early education, yet eliminates these crucial childcare slots for children. The New York City Council was able to restore $6,682,247 in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which gave a 3-month reprieve for six child care centers, and 12 months for seven other centers. At this time, additional funding is needed in FY12 to save these centers from closing.
My office has also become aware that District Council 1707, the union representing public center-based employees, was not officially informed of the possibility of New York City’s day care centers being hit with these deep cuts. And, at this time, still only 27% of eligible children are able to attend public center-based day care. Thousands more of the city’s youngest residents, toddlers, and infants will lose funding for learning opportunities within daycare centers, if the Mayor has his way. Again, these budget cuts specifically hurt the developmental progress of the least among us – working and poor families.
On the back of these cuts is the recent elimination of Priority 7 vouchers that serviced 2,200 children, (and most of these families heavily relied on the subsidy for their after-school care). Due to this cut, hundreds of eligible children may be added to Priority 5, which may be cut in the near future as well. Why does it seem that when it’s not an election year, the Administration takes funds away from those New Yorkers who depend the most on the services provided by the City?
Public and children’s advocates are adamant: the Bloomberg Administration’s plan to eliminate child care slots is illogical, and the money saved (ironically) will be at a huge expense for our children, and the future of New York City. The impact of eliminations of public center child care slots and day care centers will devastate our communities. Every Parent deserves quality day care that’s affordable. Let’s remember that these New Yorkers contribute greatly to the City’s overall economy as well.”