Unprecedented investment in child care shows advocacy, union power in action

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The enacted New York State Budget includes unprecedented positive investments in child care, thanks to action by CSEA members.

Nearly 3,000 CSEA child care providers sent letters to elected officials urging them to prioritize child care. In March, more than 600 providers also turned out for a virtual press conference and lobby day with our coalition partners at the Empire State Campaign for Child Care.

As a result, child care had some major state budget victories for providers, as well as the children and families they serve, proving what we already know — the more people take action, the more we show our united strength and power.

The enacted budget, which reflects many providers’ asks, delivers a significant pay increase for providers serving children eligible for subsidy, increased access to subsidies and a significant decrease in co-payments for parents receiving subsidies.

Also for providers, the state expanded the subsidy eligibility time frame from six to 12 months, increased paid absences, and provided a second round of grants to stabilize and expand child care small businesses with the aim of creating thousands of jobs.

The budget also expands a subsidy bridging program, facilitated enrollment, to Nassau and Suffolk counties. Currently, the program is administered by the Workforce Development Institute in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Erie, Monroe, Oneida and Onondaga counties. This program helps people who are right over the income line for eligibility but who struggle financially just as much as those who qualify. Many CSEA members serve children whose family needs this program to stay afloat and keep working.

Wells

“As our union grows, so does our power,” CSEA/VOICE Local 100A President Pamela Wells said. “We know power creates change and with more influence we can solve the issues we face. The pandemic hit providers hard, and I am grateful for our union. United with others in the profession and being able to get in front of those who make the decisions about our work was our vision back in 2002. In 2022, this is not just a vision but a reality. Thank you to all of the providers who took part in these advocacy campaigns.”

Learn more at cseany.org/issues.

— Jill Asencio

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About Author

Jill Asencio

Jill Asencio is the statewide communications specialist assigned to CSEA Headquarters in Albany. She is a summa cum laude graduate of The College of Saint Rose and award-winning photo/video journalist and public relations professional. As part of CSEA’s communication team since 2007, she found her passion in labor, advocating for children and New York’s working families. Asencio understands first-hand the value of growing up in a union household and the deep connection unions have in ensuring strong, educated and healthy families.

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