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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2011
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Letter to Mayor Comes on Heels of Report Showing Child Care Cuts to 17,000 Children Would Devastate City’s Most Struggling Communities
Coalition of advocates, providers and parents organizing to ensure children get the child care they need
NEW YORK—An overwhelming majority of New York City Council Members have signed a letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to restore cuts that would eliminate child care for 17,000 children. The letter, signed by 45 of the 51 Council Members, was delivered to the Mayor today, in advance of the last round budget negotiations to take place next week. “Tough budget times do lead to tough choices,” the letter states, “but as elected officials it is our duty to ensure that our next generation of New Yorkers is afforded the tools for success.” The letter goes on to tell the Mayor, “It is critical that you restore and baseline the $95 million needed to preserve child care for these parents.”
The Council’s letter to the Mayor comes on the heels of a report issued this month by the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care, which shows that the impact of these cuts is not shared equally and will hit some of the city’s most struggling communities the hardest. The cuts will devastate communities with high unemployment rates, high unmet need for child care, and low achievement on standardized tests.
“Cutting child care for 17,000 children would have a dire effect on thousands of working families in our city, forcing parents to scramble for alternative care and preventing tens of thousands of kids from getting the early education opportunities they deserve,” said Council Member Annabel Palma.
The Mayor’s plan to cut child care for 17,000 children in addition to the 14,000 slots eliminated in recent years would be 50% cut in child care slots for working families since 2006 and is the biggest blow to child care since the 1970’s. This cut marks a dramatic reversal of the City’s promise to expand early learning opportunities for children and to support working families. The cuts would not only put families and children in an impossible situation during tough economic times, but would stunt the educational development of thousands of New York’s children.
Studies have shown that every $1 cut from child care leads to a $1.86 loss in economic activity, and that a cut of this magnitude to child care and early learning programs could cost the city a billion dollars in future costs for remedial education and lowered high school graduation rates. The Mayor’s cuts will further damage the city’s economy by forcing working parents to leave their jobs—jobs that support their families as well as our community.
“The City Council understands that times are tough—but in tough economic times, child care is the last thing we should cut,” said Council Member Al Vann. “These cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish, and have the potential to push thousands of hard working parents out of the workforce and onto public assistance.”
“This is a priority fight for the City Council,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “For the Mayor to cut child care for 17,000 of the city’s children just wouldn't be responsible.”
“New York City relies on our working families and working families rely on safe and affordable child care,” said Council Member David Greenfield. “The proposal to kick 17,000 children out of child care and into the streets is unconscionable. The Mayor has a moral obligation to restore this funding immediately.”
ABOUT THE CUTS
The Mayor’s plan cuts child care subsidies for almost 17,000 children this year. 14,000 child care slots have already been lost since 2006. 47,887 low-income children from working families are getting subsidized child care right now. The City is only serving 27% of eligible children. The Mayor’s proposal would cut 17,000 subsidies for children, adding to the problem. The City’s proposed budget would also close 300 child care classrooms with capacity for 5,440 kids, and 2,800 family provider slots.
The Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care, made up of organizations representing thousands of city residents, demands that the Mayor and Council restore this unprecedented cut to critical early learning services. Even in tough times, the last thing we should cut is the critical early education services young children and hard-working families depend on.