Press Release

In NYC, Gillibrand Announces Child Care Working Group Committed To Tackling Child Care Crisis

Apr 16, 2024

Child care has grown increasingly unaffordable for many New Yorkers, while the average wage for early childhood educators has remained below the state median income

With the Expiration of Major Federal Child Care Funding In September 2023, Over 5,700 New York Child Care Centers Were Projected To Close And Over 251,000 Children In New York Were Set To Lose Care

This week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the creation of and convened her Child Care Working Group (CCWG), comprised of advocacy organizations, elected officials, and government agencies across New York. The group exists to promote child care as a public good, expand access to high-quality, affordable child care for all New York families, and support the child care workforce. Senator Gillibrand led the group’s inaugural meeting on Monday, April 15th at 1199SEIU headquarters in NYC, alongside the Working Group Chairman, Henry Garrido, Executive Director of DC37. Other notable attendees included New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.

Providing child care to every family is difficult work, but it can and must be done. I formed the Child Care Working Group to convene minds from across sectors to help tackle the child care crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Access to quality, affordable child care is essential to a child’s future and allows parents to succeed in their careers and to continue contributing to our economy. The CCWG is also focused on caring for our child care providers, who are responsible for nurturing, shaping, and spearheading early learning for the next generation. As a mother, I can tell you — parenting is a full-time job, and this working group is committed to finding solutions that will help ensure every child in New York has a bright future.”

“The cost and availability of child care has become an insurmountable burden for families across New York and the country. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her partnership and appointment to this important initiative, and I look forward to collaborating with the members of the Child Care Working Group to produce tangible proposals that tackle the obstacles facing working families in their pursuit of affordable and accessible options for quality care.” – Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37 

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO: “Affordable, quality child care not only supports working families but is also an investment in the future of our workforce. No worker can be productive at their job if they are worried about the well-being and education of their children. We need smarter policy, and greater investments to attract and retain the skilled workforce needed to properly care for our greatest resource – our children. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership on this critical issue and for her commitment to finding solutions that address the needs of both parents and providers.”

“I am grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in forming the Child Care Working Group, which will expand access to child care across our state and nation. My conference and I firmly believe that all New Yorkers deserve access to affordable and quality child care services. That’s why, year after year, the Senate Majority has prioritized expanding access to child care, supporting initiatives for more universally accessible child care. Recognizing child care as a paramount issue both now and in the future, we’re actively working through budget negotiations and legislation to bolster our state’s investments in child care. This includes initiatives such as raising salaries for child care workers, ensuring that New York families and children have the support they need to flourish.” – Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senate Majority Leader

“Quality, affordable child care fulfills our societal obligation to provide for the well-being of children,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda. “It is also an economic necessity. As such, all levels of government – federal, state and local – and employers and residents alike must make affordable, quality care accessible to all New York families. It must be treated as an essential public service, just the same as most other industrialized countries in the world do. We have the resources and capacity to do so. All we need is the will.”

“The child care crisis is real and hurting many New Yorkers. I look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand and the members of the working group to identify realistic and meaningful actions that be taken to support the child care providers, ensure the workforce is paid adequate wages and to make child care available and affordable to all families with young children.  I am deeply appreciative of the Senator’s commitment to helping New York’s families.” – Jennifer Marino Rojas, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.

“The Child Care Working Group recognizes that caring for and educating young children is important work that has a tremendous impact on their lives for years to come. Access to high-quality, affordable child care starts with a well-compensated workforce that is prepared with the skills they need to foster healthy development in all children and operate essential businesses for families in communities across the state.” – Dona Anderson, Executive Director, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute

“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 any economic plan.” – Sheri Scavone, CEO WNY Women’s Foundation, Co-Chair Innovation Sub-Committee

“1199SEIU understands that access to affordable, quality and stable child care is imperative for our working families, businesses and society as a whole. It is not a luxury, but a necessity. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Gillibrand and the CCWG members on finding viable solutions for workers from all industries.” – Helen Schaub, 1199SEIU Political Director

Affordable child care remains out of reach for many low-income families. In New York, 64% of people reside in child care deserts, and parents must pay an average of $21,826 annually for an infant in a child care center. With the September 2023 lapse of pandemic-era federal funding that was critical in helping keep thousands of child care providers operational, an analysis by The Century Foundation projected that over 5,700 New York child care centers were at risk of closure, and over 251,000 children in New York were set to lose care. The analysis also found that New York parents would lose $846 million in earnings as a result of being forced to cut work hours or leave the workforce, and an additional 19,156 child care jobs would be lost across the state. The CCWG is committed to a layered, multidisciplinary approach that crosses all levels of government and advocacy to find solutions to these pressing issues.

The CCWG is composed of:

Nonprofits: DAY ONE Early Learning Center, New York Association for the Education of Young Children, Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), Partnership for New York City, Western New York Women’s Foundation, Adirondack North Country Association, Child Care Council of Westchester, The Children’s Agenda, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Early Care & Learning Council, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, New York State Head Start Association

Unions: New York State AFL-CIO, DC37, UFT, New York City Central Labor Council, Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), 1199SEIU

Elected Officials and Government Agencies: Congresswoman Grace Meng, Governor Kathy Hochul, Office of the NYS Comptroller, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Samra Brouk, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblymember Sarah Clark, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, SUNY