By Mark Hallum
Legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will establish a task force to study the availability of child care across the state and the economic effects of not having these services in communities.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) penned the bill, which passed the Senate in June and was later introduced into the Assembly and carried by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Pearl River).
“In order to better improve child care policies, it is necessary to understand more about the issues related to child care access. As chair of the Senate’s Children and Families Committee, I am committed to ensuring that every child, whether at the beginning of their education or at the end of their college tenure, has access to the highest quality education this state has to offer,” Avella said. “Our state should be committed to providing every child the opportunity to succeed through education as well as providing families an opportunity to grow and flourish in our communities. By creating this task force it will allow our state to do just that.”
Members of the task force will be appointed by the governor upon recommendations from the Assembly speaker, president of the Senate and representatives of child care agencies.
Some issues the task force will examine are access to subsidized child-care, costs of child care, availability of child care during odd hours and how a lack of services affects the workforce and the economy.
“Ensuring all parents have access to quality, affordable child care is a top priority. On behalf of working families across the state I thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this important bill into law,” Jaffee said. “We have been working closely with the governor’s office to ensure the task force runs efficiently and effectively, incorporating suggestions and getting the appropriate agencies involved, while ensuring that we maintain the integrity of the task force.”
The results of these studies will be reported to the Senate and Assembly leaders for further action to be taken.
It will be chaired by commissioners from the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the member of the task force will serve three terms without pay, according to the bill.
At least one member of the task force is required to be a parent who has accessed subsidized child care in the past.
According to the bill, the legislation would take effect immediately, but the cost of implementing a task force has yet to be determined.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall