First Meeting Held; Task Force Will Develop Recommendations to Make Quality, Affordable Child Care More Accessible
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of the Child Care Availability Task Force. The task force, established earlier this year as part of the Governor's 2018 Women's Agenda, assembles a group of experts focused on developing innovative solutions that will improve access to quality, affordable child care in New York. The task force held its first meeting today.
"Every parent should be able to go to work without worrying if their children are getting the care they deserve," Governor Cuomo said. "Affordable and high-quality child care is not only vital for working families, it's also essential to strengthening our state's economy and by continuing to create these opportunities for parents to succeed in both work and family life we are building a stronger New York for all."
"As a mother, I know how important it is to have access to quality child care to help balance responsibilities at work and at home," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the Child Care Availability Task Force. "We want to ensure that working families are provided with the resources for safe, accessible and affordable child care. By promoting and investing in child care, we know it can improve women's participation in the workforce and narrow the gender wage gap. The Child Care Availability Task Force will explore and support innovative approaches to providing quality child care across the state."
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said, "In New York, we believe no woman should have to choose between staying home to raise her family or advancing in the workforce because of lack of access to quality, affordable child care. As part of Governor Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda, we spearheaded the Child Care Availability Task Force to bring together some of our best and brightest minds to provide resources for working parents to develop and to create a model of child care for the rest of the country to follow."
The Child Care Availability Task Force is comprised of representatives from the child care provider community, the advocacy community, representatives of the business community, unions that represent child care providers, representatives from several state agencies and local departments of social services. The task force will examine access to affordable child care, the availability of child care for parents with non-traditional work hours, statutory and regulatory changes that could promote or enhance access to child care, business incentives to increase child care access, and the impact on tax credits and deductions relating to child care. The task force is expected to share its initial recommendations with the administration next year and finalize its report by the end of 2020.
The list of members on Governor Cuomo's Child Care Availability Task Force is available here.
Acting Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Improving access to quality child care for working parents requires a pioneering approach that looks beyond state and federal funding and considers groundbreaking partnerships with businesses and community organizations. We need to be innovative in thinking about child care because child care is foundational to economic growth."
Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Child care is an issue that touches every family in New York in one way or another. At the Governor's direction, I travelled around the state last year meeting with women on the gender pay gap, and the number one issue raised was addressing child care. It came up in EVERY conversation, which is proof that the work of this taskforce is sorely needed. I'm excited to be a part of it and I'm glad we're getting started."
Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, my colleagues in the legislature, and advocates for your commitment to New York's working families, particularly working women, and for responding to the overwhelming need for affordable, high quality child care in New York State by making the Child Care Task Force a top priority. This meeting is a significant first step. I am excited and energized to begin working with the Task Force members and my colleagues in the upcoming legislative session to examine the challenges we face and how we can improve child care access, quality, and funding, while easing the burden of child care cost for working parents."
The Child Care Availability Task Force builds upon Governor Cuomo's investments in child care. In 2017, the Governor established the Enhanced Middle-Class Child Care Tax Credit to reduce costs for working families. The credit more than doubled the tax benefit for 200,000 working families in New York State. The current state budget reflects the first year of the tax credit, which continues to alleviate child care costs and support working parents.