Rochester, N.Y. – Children’s advocates in our area are calling for the state to provide what they say is much-needed funding for child care across New York.
A new report from The Children’s Agenda finds a deficiency in care for infants in toddlers across Monroe County, particularly in the City of Rochester.
“It tells a picture of a system in decline,” said Pete Nabozny, director of policy for The Children’s Agenda. “Each year, we have fewer regulated child care slots, places where families be comfortable sending their children to receive nurturing care while they participate in the workforce.”
The Children’s Agenda says its report is meant to be an alarm bell to the state to provide additional funding for child care – and a call to action for residents to demand funding in this year’s budget.
“We are in a crisis that demands immediate action from the federal, state and local governments to address,” said Larry Marks, CEO of The Children’s Agenda.
The organization praised recent increases in funding for pre-K for three and four-year-olds.
“But that’s come at the expense of care for very young children,” said Nabozny. “Those first three years are incredibly important to a child’s development, to a parent’s ability to earn and to provide for their family, and the lack of care options is really holding this community back and holding the children and the families of this community back.”
Additionally, Nabozny said pre-K doesn’t fit every parent’s needs, as it covers only about 70 percent of days parents will need to work – and a typical pre-K day may not work for parents who have jobs outside normal business hours.
That’s something which Generations Child Care employee and mother Karrah Lawler says she has seen first-hand with families.
“The affordability is still a hardship on many working mothers,” she said. “…You’re not working 8-3 when the program’s running. You’re working 7-5, normal working hours.”
The report also found a decline in the number of home-based child care services in the city. The organization found the number of these services decreased by about 25 percent between 2012 and 2019.
“We need a robust, affordable, accessible child care system that helps families, supports families and allows children to grow and thrive,” said Nabozny.
The Children’s Agenda says it will be pushing for the state to provide universal child care across the state by 2028. Advocates plan on traveling to Albany next month, and they are encouraging citizens to call the governor to include additional funding for child care in this year’s budget.
13WHAM has reached out to Governor Cuomo’s office for comment on this story.
To learn more about The Children’s Agenda, click here.