Press Release

In Buffalo, 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

Jun 7, 2024

Today, as police departments across New York face unprecedented workforce shortages, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at Buffalo Police headquarters 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 Deputy Mayor Dr. Callie Johnson, Deputy Erie County Executive Lisa Chimera, 1st Deputy Police Commissioner Alphonso Wright, and WNY Women’s Foundation CEO Sheri Scavone.

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

“I want to express my gratitude to Senator Gillibrand for introducing a much-needed bipartisan bill,” said Chief Executive Officer for the Child Care Resource Network Kimberly Suminski. “This legislation proposes allocating $24 million in federal funding towards child care services tailored to support the dedicated men and women serving in law enforcement. By ensuring access to high-quality child care, this Act not only recognizes their commitment to keeping our communities safe but also acknowledges the broader impact of child care on all working families. It underscores that child care is not solely a women’s issue but a crucial community concern that affects us all.”

“Accessing and affording flexible child care is a barrier for working parents and disproportionately so for women,” said Sheri Scavone, CEO of WNY Women’s Foundation. “This bill would establish child care as the essential workforce support that it is for those dedicated servants in law enforcement.  It is an honor to serve with Senator Gillibrand to drive solutions to our very real child care crisis. The Senator is a real champion and understands that child care is the business on which all other businesses function and is a public good. Given the importance of child care in building prosperous communities and promoting racial, economic, and gender equity as well as child well-being, it must be a part of a workforce plan.”

“The need for affordable and accessible child care touches all sectors of employment, and it is essential that we provide support for our working parents, especially those tasked with keeping our communities safe,” said Deputy Erie County Executive Lisa Chimera. “Law enforcement officers often work outside the typical work week, creating an additional barrier to securing child care. By easing this burden, we have the ability to ensure that talented law enforcement officers are not faced with the difficult decision of choosing between their careers and their family. I thank the Senator for her leadership and for bringing attention to this critical issue.”

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.

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) cosponsor 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.

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For the bill text, please click here