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Gov. Hochul says NY will spend $70M to improve childcare services

Governor Kathy Hochul visited a classroom at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood on July 25, 2022.
Kevin P. Coughlin/Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor
Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor
Governor Kathy Hochul visited a classroom at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood on July 25, 2022, and then announced that nearly $70 million in grant funding has been awarded to newly licensed, registered or permitted child care programs across the state.

Governor Kathy Hochul says the state will spend $70 million for improving child care services in New York, as part of a plan that ends the state sales tax on baby diapers.

The funds are part of $7 billion set aside in the state budget over the next four years to fix what many believe is a broken child care system.

Governor Hochul says the money will create 344 new child care centers. The 12,000 new slots will include 592 guaranteed places for infants and toddlers. 500 slots will be set aside to provide care at non-traditional hours to help essential workers like health care professionals, retail workers, cleaners, and others who don’t have a 9 to 5 schedule.

“What I think is one of the best takeaways of the pandemic if there is one, is that we finally started seeing these unseen workers,” the Democrat said. “We start to value our essential workers and I’ve always said that the child care workers are the essential workers for the essential workers,” Hochul said. “So let’s just acknowledge the role that they play.”

The new day care centers will be located in what’s known as “child care deserts” which Hochul says comprises 60% of New York State.

The governor and legislature also have increased the family income threshold for eligibility for assistance to pay for child care from $52,000 to $83,000 per year.

Hochul, a new grandmother, also signed a bill into law that ends the state and local sales tax on diapers, which she says will help counter act rising prices due to inflation. Sponsor and Democratic Senator Jamaal Bailey, says as a parent of two, he knows that every savings is helpful.

“I’ve changed a diaper or a thousand in my lifetime,” Bailey said. “Every penny counts.”

Bailey says even with a flexible schedule, he still struggles with juggling child care and camp for his two daughters. Hochul says the funding for child care will also include money for training for child care workers. She says day care is much more than just “babysitting.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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