September 23, 2009

New York City Received Nearly $28 Million To Provide Affordable Child Care For Families – Gillibrand Takes Action To Release Money

Stimulus Funds Would Restore 1,800 Seats for City’s Preschoolers, Pay for Family Child Care Providers

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took action to help New York City spend economic recovery dollars to provide child care assistance. Stimulus funds would restore more than 1,800 seats for the city's preschoolers and would help pay for salaries of child care providers.

With preschool enrollment already underway, more than 80 child care centers citywide are now waiting for the $27,940,783 in child care funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that Senator Gillibrand helped pass earlier this year. Local officials have been unable to spend the money because the federal government has yet to provide guidelines for the program.

 

Borough

Stimulus Funds
Would Restore Seats for 3 & 4 Year-Olds

# of Child Care Centers
w/ Restored Capacity

Brooklyn

920

41

Bronx

480

22

Manhattan

160

7

Queens

280

13

Staten Island

20

1

Total

1860

84

Source: NYC Administration for Children's Services

"In these tough economic times, we must ensure that families in New York City have access to quality, affordable child care," said Senator Gillibrand. "Especially in difficult economic times, no parent should have to skip work because they can't afford quality child care. Funding is already available to help these families and we must act quickly to make sure that they get relief.  I will continue working closely with the Administration to set the proper guidelines that will allow Nassau and Suffolk counties to distribute these funds."

"We appreciate the efforts by U.S. Sen. Gillibrand to obtain the stimulus money that is so crucial to maintaining key child care programs throughout the New York City child care system," said John B. Mattingly, New York City Administration for Children's Services Commissioner. These funds, along with funding from the New York City Council, helped restore seats for three and four-year-olds."

"This allocation is critical to providing child care," said Gladys Carrión, New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner. We are extremely grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her continuing support on child care issues in New York State, but especially for the funding to provide parents the services they need."

New York State's Office of Children & Family Services received $96.8 million in May to help provide New York families with affordable child care over the next two years. Approximately $84 million will be allocated to the counties over the next two years. This funding will help thousands of New York City families.

However, New York State is currently unable to distribute the money to its social service districts because it has not yet been given federal guidance on the reporting requirements for these funds.  In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Senator Gillibrand asked that the agency immediately take steps to issue federal guidelines to New York State for distribution of the funds.

Full text of the letter is below:

September 22, 2009

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
United States Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

I write to express my urgent concern regarding New York State's inability to release the $96.7 million in federal child care stimulus funds that it has received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA").  New York State's Office of Children and Family Services received these funds in early May of this year, but has been unable to distribute them to its social service districts because it has been unable to obtain federal guidance on the reporting requirements for these funds pursuant to Section 1512 of the ARRA.

It has come to my attention that districts throughout New York State have not been able to spend the child care funds to which they are entitled, and which they desperately need in order to pay for childcare.  Thousands of New York families rely on county day care, and consequently, are in danger of losing their jobs.

I was a strong supporter of the economic recovery plan, and I continue to support the tremendous work you and President Obama are doing to provide emergency assistance to middle income and low income Americans in need during this economic crisis.  I know you agree that we must make sure that families receive assistance as soon as possible.

I urge you to act quickly to provide guidance to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and similar agencies throughout the nation, so that working families no longer risk losing access to quality childcare.

Very truly yours,

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand