Queens lawmaker’s bill to improve child care across New York gets Cuomo’s approval

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A Bayside-based lawmaker’s push to create a special task force that will examine the state’s child care needs has received the governor’s approval.

State Senator Tony Avella’s bill establishing a “child care availability task force” was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week. The bill took effect immediately.

The task force will consist of members appointed by the governor, individuals suggested by the Assembly speaker and the president pro tempore of the state Senate, and representatives of child care resource and referral agencies, child care providers and the business community.

The group will examine child care issues, including access, cost, quality and impact on the local economy, and report its findings to Senate and Assembly leaders no later than Dec. 31, 2018. The information will help guide decisions to better meet the needs of working families across the state.

“Access to quality child care is critical for healthy child development, as well as for working families to maintain employment and self-sufficiency,” the bill reads. “Yet many families struggle to obtain safe and reliable child care for reasons that may include the high cost, the lack of subsidies and the lack of an available child care slot for the hours needed.”

According to Avella, who also chairs the state Senate’s Children and Families Committee, studies have suggested that children who do not participate in quality early learning programs may struggle academically or have lower future earning potential. He said the bill is an effort to ensure that kids at every age have access to high-quality education.

“In order to better improve child care policies, it is necessary to understand more about the issues related to child care access,” the lawmaker 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.”

The bill passed both houses in June. The legislation received memos in support from more than 15 organizations across the state, according to Avella’s office.

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