Nearly $30 million ($29.5 million) in federal funding has been to help increase capacity at 418 existing state-licensed, registered, or permitted childcare programs located in underserved areas of New York State.
The funding includes $1.9 million for 17 awardees in Long Island and $12.7 million for 170 awardees in New York City.
Administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the grants are part of a $100 million initiative to help increase the capacity of programs located in childcare deserts.
‘Childcare deserts’ are defined as areas of a county where there are three or more children younger than five for each available childcare slot, or there are no available childcare slots at all.
“These latest awards will help New Yorkers access the quality childcare programs they need to provide for their families and build careers,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in making the announcement.
The awards, made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, are aimed at helping underserved areas build programs; recruit, train and retain workers; and support staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines.
More than $68 million was announced in July to establish 344 new childcare programs in areas of the state considered “childcare deserts.”
Roughly 60 percent of the state is considered a childcare desert based on the criteria.
Seven billion dollars is to be allocated over a four-year period as part of the FY 2023 State Budget to expand access to childcare for families across the state.
The commitment included increasing the income eligibility threshold for childcare subsidies to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – $83,250 for a family of four – which opens the door to eligibility for 394,000 young children statewide.
An allocation of $2 billion in 2022 to increase the number of eligible families included $894 million in new funding for New York State Child Care Block Grants, more than $500 million in unspent funds previously allocated to local departments of social services and more than $600 million in existing COVID-19 pandemic funding.