Child Care Is Essential Roundtable
On July 22, 2020, the Empire State Campaign for Child Care (co-facilitated by the Schuyler Center), and NYS Assemblymembers Michaelle C. Solages and Ellen C. Jaffee co-hosted a roundtable on the urgent need to pass the Child Care Is Essential Act, and a federal investment of $50 billion to stabilize child care. The roundtable was attended by more than 250 New Yorkers and featured remarks by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, NY Lieutenant Kathy Governor Hochul, U.S. Representatives Grace Meng and Adriano Espaillat, as well as numerous NYS legislative leaders, parents and child care providers. Schuyler Center’s press release details the event. A recording on YouTube is also available to watch below.
The message conveyed by all participants of the roundtable: New York parents cannot return to work without access to affordable, safe, high quality child care. New York child care providers cannot care without the necessary financial and other support to follow stringent safety protocols, including operating at significantly reduced capacity. The Child Care is Essential Act would enable child care providers to:
- continue operating, or to reopen, at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing
- to cover the additional costs associated with keeping facilities and materials disinfected
- to allow providers to make necessary infrastructure improvements, like partitioning rooms to create smaller, more contained classrooms
- to provide essential workers quality, safe, free, or low-cost child care
- and to ensure that child care is available to other workers as states begin to reopen
These funds could also be used by child care programs that need to scale up in a safe way to accommodate more school age children who may be attending in-person classes on a staggered basis to allow for social distancing in schools. CLASP has released a Fact Sheet detailing why it will cost an estimated $9.6 billion in public funding each month to sustain the fragile child care industry, and ensure that parents can access safe, affordable child care during the recovery. Accordingly, this $50 billion is the minimum needed to get working families back, and children back to school.
In addition, after the Child Care is Essential Act passed the House of Representatives on July 29, 2020, Schuyler Center and our partners pivoted our attention to urging members of NYS Congressional delegation to ensure the next federal COVID relief package includes at least $50 billion for child care.