Activists from around the state, including about two dozen Rochesterians, rallied in Albany on Tuesday to call for more state funding for child care.
The Rochester contingent included child care workers, Child Care Council members, and community members. According to the Children’s Agenda, about 250 people attended the rally in Albany.
“Everyone has different motivations for why you’re willing to get up at 5 a.m. to get going to Albany, but there’s … broad agreement that the current state of childcare isn’t acceptable,” said Pete Nabozny, policy director at The Children’s Agenda and co-leader of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, which organized the event.
According to The Children’s Agenda, families spend about 12% of their income on child care while workers are paid on average about $30,000 a year.
“It’s not right that families who can afford any kind of care and can go anywhere can make that choice,” Bridget Shumway, the executive director of Generations Child Care, said in a statement. “Children who live in homes that don’t have those resources should have the same choice.”
Advocates met with lawmakers like Assemblymember Sarah Clark to lobby for temporary wage increases and improve accessibility to child care.
“There’s a lot of legislative attention on child care right now,” Nabozny said. “So this is a good opportunity to put a spotlight on child care, hear from some lawmakers that want to see things change and ultimately, you know, build some pressure to address this really significant child care challenge that we have.”
The Children’s Agenda is advocating for short-term workforce compensation to raise wages, and greater child care assistance eligibility for families on public assistance.
“I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to go to a child care facility where their mother doesn’t have to worry about them while she’s working,” Diane Tanner said in a statement. Tanner was among those who made the trip to Albany.