POUGHKEEPSIE – US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in Poughkeepsie to talk about the need for affordable and accessible childcare in New York and the rest of the country on Monday.
Gillibrand gave an outline of her “Child Care Is Essential” act that proposes spending $50 billion on childcare stabilization to childcare providers that have encountered many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill would establish grants for child care providers that are currently open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive grant awards, which are based on the provider’s operating costs before the COVID-19 public health emergency and adjusted to account for the increased costs of providing child care as a result of COVID-19.
“Without adequate federal assistance, we are at risk of losing 4.5 million childcare slots nationwide. Here in New York, that could mean that the availability of childcare would drop from one slot for every four children down to one slot of every eight children,” Gillibrand said. Gillibrand called the Mid-Hudson region a “daycare desert” because of a lack of quality daycare providers.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro indicated that a lack of quality, affordable daycare has a negative effect on many levels of the economy. “Without access to quality childcare, many individuals forfeit access to the workforce,” he said.
Speaking addressing her comments to Congress, Hochul said, “This is a do or die moment” with regard to the need for Congress to release federal funding to help with COVID relief including the need to address childcare needs.