Governor Hochul Announces Child Care Desert Grant Awardees Receive Nearly $70 Million in Federal Funding
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that nearly $70 million in grant funding has been awarded to newly licensed, registered or permitted child care programs in areas of the state without sufficient child care slots, known as child care deserts. The funds, which are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative approved in the Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget, were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and are administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The grants will help new child care providers in underserved areas build their programs, cover start-up and personnel costs, recruit, train, and retain staff, and support staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, the Governor highlighted legislation (S.8033A/A.8528A) that will help make diapers more affordable by exempting adult and children’s diapers, including disposable diapers, from all sales and use taxes.
“Expanding child care options for working families is personal to me. As a young mom, I had to leave my job due to lack of access to affordable child care,” Governor Hochul said. “I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the Congressional delegation for helping secure this critical funding. New York remains committed to eradicating child care deserts, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline.”
“Insufficient child care resources have a tremendous effect on our economy, keeping parents from returning to work,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “It is critical for us to improve care, especially in underserved areas where parents have to struggle with the painful and unacceptable choices of whether to keep their jobs and leave their young children home alone with no care at all or quit their jobs and not be able to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.”
For this funding opportunity, a child care desert is defined as a census tract where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are no available child care slots in the tract. Based on this criteria, more than 60 percent of New York State is considered a child care desert. All census tracts in New York State have been mapped to identify deserts. Anyone can review the child care desert map to discern if they live in a child care desert. Additional information about the grant can be found in the RFA.
The Fiscal Year 2023 Enacted Budget includes a historic investment to expand access to high-quality child care to support children and families and help stimulate New York State’s continued economic recovery. It includes an unprecedented $7 billion investment over four years and increases the income eligibility threshold for child care assistance in August 2022 to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($83,250 for a family of four)—extending eligibility to more than half of New York State’s young children.
Additionally, Governor Hochul highlighted legislation (S.8033A/A.8528A) that will help make diapers more affordable by exempting adult and children’s diapers, including disposable diapers, from all sales and use taxes. Diapers are often a very large, if not the largest, expense for parents caring for infants and individuals caring for seniors. Although existing law exempts these diapers from the State’s four percent sales tax, there are multiple counties and jurisdictions that do not provide for a local exemption. This bill will ensure that adult and children’s diapers are not subject to this tax by counties or jurisdictions and follow the state exemption.
Total child care desert grant awardee funding broken down by region is below:
|Region||Total Awards||Number of Awardees|
|Capital Region||$ 3,802,000||24|
|Central NY||$ 3,830,000||23|
|Finger Lakes||$ 4,028,000||24|
|Mohawk Valley||$ 3,258,000||21|
|North Country||$ 3,081,000||21|
|Southern Tier||$ 4,148,000||26|
|Western NY||$ 4,174,000||27|
|Long Island||$ 13,368,000||57|
|New York City||$ 16,665,000||70|