Press Release

As NY Police Departments Face Unprecedented Staffing Shortages, Senator Gillibrand Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Provide $24 Million In Funding For Child Care For The Police Workforce

Apr 14, 2024

According to Recent News Reports, NYPD is Understaffed by Thousands and Officers are Leaving by the Hundreds Every Month; Towns and Cities Across New York State Facing Similar Unprecedented Workforce Shortages

Today, as police departments across New York face unprecedented workforce shortages, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at the Detectives’ Endowment Association in lower Manhattan to announce the introduction of her new bipartisan bill, the Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act, which would provide $24 million in federal funding for child care services to support the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. According to data from New York’s Independent Budget Office, nearly 3,000 officers either resigned or retired last year, while only 2,300 were recruited. The NYPD has had its lowest headcount since 1990, and officers are leaving the force at record rates. 

Gillibrand was joined by NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo, NYPD Sergeants’ Benevolent Association President Vincent J. Vallelong, NYPD Captains Endowment Association President Chris Monahan, Port Authority Police Department Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Vice President Daniel Rhein, Suffolk County Deputt Undersheriff John Becker, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute Executive Director Dona Anderson, and Child Care Council of Suffolk Executive Director Jennifer Rojas. 

“Policing is one of the most important and noble professions, and our officers deserve to have the flexibility and support needed to do the job well. Offering child care services is a powerful tool to attract and retain new talent, and it’s an essential way to promote public safety while maintaining a stable law enforcement workforce,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My bipartisan bill, the Providing Child Care for Police Officers Actwould help provide these essential services and help police departments to retain and recruit the best talent into our law enforcement agencies.”

“Police agencies across the country are facing a historic crisis recruiting and retaining officers. There are many factors contributing to the staffing shortages and childcare certainly ranks among them. We thank Senator Gillibrand for sponsoring this legislation. Her focus on the law enforcement community and her efforts to help address the staffing shortages come at a crucial time as our police agencies continue to see retirements outpacing recruitment. This bill will help local police departments refill their ranks and ensure the staffing needed to keep communities safe.” – NYS Police Investigators Association

“Law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect our communities around the clock, but the long hours and weekend shifts can be a challenge for those with young children. Childcare has certainly been a barrier for attracting and retaining law enforcement personnel. The funding proposed by Senator Gillibrand in the Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act can help to close the childcare coverage gap that exists in public safety professions and meet the unique needs of officers so they can continue to keep our communities safe,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr.

“We want to thank U.S. Senator Gillibrand for recognizing that Law Enforcement personal are on call 24hours a day 365 days a year, and that makes it very challenging maintaining a positive work life balance. This legislation that the Senator is proposing is definitely going to help us achieve that balance.” – Lieutenants Benevolent Association, NYPD

“Child care is a critical support for working families, and without access to child care that meets the unique needs of police officers, many parents may be unable to pursue a career in law enforcement.  This pilot program will help the law enforcement families and encourage the recruitment and retention of more women. As a pilot program, it is our hope that this can establish an effective model that can be applied to all occupations that work long and non-traditional hours,” said Child Care Council of Suffolk Executive Director Jennifer Rojas.

The Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act establishes a grant pilot program to provide child care services for the children of police officers to accommodate the shift work and abnormal work hours of the officers, and to enhance recruitment and retention of the workforce. Specifically, the bill authorizes $24 million in funding for each of the next five fiscal years under the Child Care Development Grant Program and allows HHS to provide grants of up to $3 million for opening child care centers. In addition, to ensure parents employed by smaller police departments receive support, 20 percent of the total grant funding will be set aside for forces employing fewer than 200 officers.

Police officers often work extended hours on a nontraditional schedule. Recent surveys show that over 20% of police officers considered leaving their department, while more than half reported having to leave or miss work due to a lack of access to child care services. This issue disproportionately impacts women, who make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership. Senator Gillibrand’s bill would help increase public safety by reducing barriers to a career in law enforcement and by ensuring the best talent is recruited into our police departments.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) cosponsors this bill in the Senate and Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-50) leads in the House of Representatives.

Supporting organizations: Sergeants Benevolent Association, 30×30, Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), Major Cities Chiefs Association, New York State Police Investigators Association, Policing Project at NYU School of Law, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, and the Child Care Council of Suffolk.

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For the bill text, please click here