Press Release

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

May 10, 2024

Albany Police Department Has Dealt With Dozens Of Vacancies In Recent Months

Today, as police departments across New York face unprecedented workforce shortages, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at the Albany Police Department’s Washington Ave Extension conference and training facility to announce the introduction of her new bipartisan bill, the Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act. The bipartisan bill would provide $24 million in federal funding for each of the next 5 fiscal years for child care services to support the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. Gillibrand was joined by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins,Troy Mayor Carmella Mantello, Troy Chief of Police Dan DeWolf, and Early Care & Learning Council Senior Director of Policy and Community Education Jessica Klos Shapiro.

“Policing is one of the most important and noble professions, and our officers here in Albany 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.”

“One of the biggest workforce challenges we continue to face is the recruitment and retention of police officers. Senator Gillibrand’s proposal to help create more child care for our officers will help break down barriers, especially for those new officers who are also parents and would be expected to cover atypical shifts like nights and weekends. As a member of Senator Gillibrand’s Child Care Working Group, I am very proud to support this legislation and thank our hometown Senator for her tireless advocacy around this issue year after year,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “members of law enforcement face the same difficulties as all working parents when it comes to finding quality child care, with the added challenge of the 24-hour a day nature of police work. Efforts that bring forth legislation, which could also assist with recruitment and retention are appreciated.”

Troy Mayor Carmella Mantello stated, “As the daughter of a retired Troy police officer and detective, I recall my dad working evenings and midnights while my mom worked days to shuffle childcare for four children. This childcare incentive will raise morale among officers and entice prospective recruits to join the force.”

“Senator Gillibrand has linked two issues that I see play out every day—a lack of child care and the difficulty to recruit and retain law enforcement to protect public safety. This initiative will help us keep our communities safe while giving law enforcement the peace of mind they need that their children are also safe and well-cared for. I applaud the Senator’s foresight and support this wholeheartedly,” said Albany County Legislator Dustin Reidy.

“Tens of thousands of families in New York remain without childcare, primarily due to lack of access and affordability,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D—Albany). “I applaud Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for sponsoring the Child Care for Police Officers Act to help address the childcare shortage for families and improve law enforcement retention and recruitment. Now, we must continue progress we’re making at the state and federal level and ultimately, establish a universally accessible and affordable childcare system where no family in New York is left behind. When households and families have access to affordable childcare, they and our communities thrive.”

The Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act would establish 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 5 fiscal years under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act and allows for grants of up to $3 million to individual law enforcement agencies or consortia to establish child care programs for their police personnel. In addition, to ensure parents employed by smaller police departments receive support, 20% of the total grant funding will be set aside for law enforcement agencies employing fewer than 200 officers.

Police officers often work extended hours on a nontraditional schedule. Recent surveys show that nearly 20% of police officers are seeking to leave the profession, and at one major metropolitan police department, more than half of officers reported having to leave or miss work due to child care issues. 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 the bill 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.

For more information, please click here.

For the bill text, please click here