Press Release

In Cicero, 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

Today, as police departments across New York face unprecedented workforce shortages, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at the Cicero Police Department 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 Cicero Police Department Sergeant Steven Amyot, President of the Central New York Chiefs of Police Association and Homer Police Department Chief Bob Pitman, Child Care Solutions CNY Executive Director Anne Napper, Cicero Town Councilor Jonathan Karp, and the family of Officer Michael Jensen, who was killed in the line of duty last month.

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

“On behalf of the Cicero Police Department, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Senator Gillibrand for drafting up this bill and for supporting law enforcement throughout Central New York and New York State,” said Chief Steven Rotunno and Sergeant Steven Amyot of the Cicero Police Department.

“As someone who has been in law enforcement for over 30 years, and a father, I truly appreciate this bi-partisan legislation being presented by Senator Gillibrand. Although my children are now adults, I can recall when they were younger, my wife was a labor and delivery nurse and with my job, we both worked odd hour shifts, including weekends. However, we were fortunate to have family members to care for our children, I know there were officers who were not so fortunate, and it was a continuous struggle for them. This legislation would help members of law enforcement care for what is most precious to them, their children. As the President of the Central New York Chiefs Association, I know that I speak for law enforcement in the Central New York area when I say thank you to Senator Gillibrand,” said Chief Bob Pitman, President of the Central New York Chiefs of Police Association.

“All working parents know that finding quality child care can be very difficult even for normal working hours.  For the men and women of law enforcement – who often work long hours on nights, weekends, and holidays – it can be impossible. This legislation helps address a serious need for these members of our communities, and I am thankful to Senators Gillibrand and Tillis for sponsoring it,” said Cicero Town Councilor Jonathan Karp.

“I commend Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Providing Child Care for Police Officers Act for addressing the crucial need for child care during nontraditional hours. This initiative marks a significant step towards recognizing the diverse child care needs of our communities, particularly for essential workers like police officers. By addressing these gaps, we not only support our dedicated law enforcement professionals but also contribute to a more inclusive and supportive child care system for all families who struggle to access quality, reliable, and affordable child care outside the normal 9-5 work hours. Child Care Solutions remain committed to advocating for polices and initiatives that promote equitable access to quality child care for every family regardless of their work schedule,” said Anne Napper, Executive Director of Childcare Solutions of CNY.

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