Speaker Carl Heastie and Children and Families Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi today announced the Assembly has passed two bills that would increase access to affordable childcare for families in New York.
“Families across the state have struggled to find safe, reliable childcare since long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores and intensified the problem,” said Speaker Heastie. “These critical pieces of legislation would remove the burdensome requirements to accessing affordable childcare that prevent parents from trying to improve their circumstances and climb the economic ladder.”
“Affordable childcare is a lifeline for all parents regardless of whether they are working full time, part time or are receiving an education,” said Assemblymember Hevesi. “These bills will ensure that families on a less traditional path or work schedule will still have the same access to childcare that will enable them to be successful.”
“Anyone who has earned an advanced degree or enrolled in post secondary vocational and certification programs knows that the work required can often be a full time job,” said Assemblymember Sarah Clark.“As parents make the decision to embark on this path, adding work requirements to access childcare subsidies is often the barrier for those who are trying to obtain an education to advance their career, and an unnecessary burden for our New York families. My legislation will ensure that parents have access to the childcare they require to obtain the educational opportunities needed to better provide for their families.”
The first bill passed by the Assembly would provide social services districts with greater flexibility when providing childcare services. Under the bill, a social services district would not be required to limit authorized childcare services strictly based on the work, training or educational schedules of the parents (A.7661, Hevesi). This legislation would help low income, homeless and other families who are working part time, have rotating schedules or who are participating in educational and vocational activities benefit from childcare assistance.
The second bill would remove the work requirement for a person receiving a childcare subsidy who is enrolled in an educational program (A.7093, Clark). Currently, workers enrolled in an educational program are required to work 17.5 hours in addition to their studies to qualify for a childcare subsidy. By removing this work requirement, parents would be able to focus on their education and developing and advancing their careers.