As Queens residents are facing a crisis in childcare services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas — the chairwoman of the Women’s Issues Committee — is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release funds for childcare resources.
The New York State government has been holding back tens of millions of dollars, allocated by the federal government through the CARES Act, at a time when 25 percent of childcare programs and 30 percent of school-aged child care have closed during the public health crisis.
“Childcare services must be at the forefront of New York’s reopening plans,” Simotas said. “In a crippling economy, we cannot expect families to return back to work without proper child care services. New York state must invest in our childcare communities.”
During a virtual press conference, lawmakers described how daycare centers have gone without tuition payments for months as they have not been able to reopen.
“Now more than ever. affordable childcare is a necessity for New York’s working families. No matter their situations, whether working from home, working outside the home, or even searching for employment after losing their pre-pandemic jobs, parents and caregivers are struggling to make ends meet while balancing the care and education of their children,” Simotas constituent Julia Sorrentino said. “All too often, the burden falls on mothers, and it is an impossible task. It is unfair to ask us to choose between providing for our families and caring for, and educating, our children. And for so many, there is simply no choice.”
They added that financially struggling daycare centers are crucial for parents with small children. New York state received $162 million in federal CARES Act funding to support child care, with $70 million yet to be allocated.
“Stable, affordable and accessible childcare is a prerequisite for parents to return to work,” Astoria resident and mother Megan Stotts said. “We can’t begin to rebuild an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic without the workforce of our parents. Being child-free shouldn’t be a requirement for participating in the workforce, and New York state needs to support us parents and our children so we can help the economy recover.”