ROCHESTER, NY (WROC)— Today is what’s known as Child Care Advocacy Day in Albany. For it, more than 300 people— including parents, providers, and advocates— rallied at the legislative office building, calling for better compensation and a better system for child care in New York State.
“We are looking for increased funding that’s going to support our children, in our state and in our communities,” said Emily Rathbun, a research and policy analyst with The Children’s Agenda.
Rathbun was among the 20 people who joined the group leaving from Rochester. She tells News 8, one of the most pressing issues is a dwindling childcare workforce.
That’s why the group’s main ask is for NY to invest $1.2 billion to improve the pay of childcare providers who, they say, earn less than 96% of jobs in the state. If better funded, they argue proper child care would have a positive domino effect on the workforce.
“Right now there’s simply not enough childcare workers to support enough children,” said Rathbun, “if we have more workers and we can incentivize them with higher wages and better benefits then we can support more children. And the more children that are supported, the more parents that can go into the workforce knowing that their kids are in a safe and enriching environment.”
The American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA, funds were meant to help stabilize the childcare sector during COVID-19. Rathbun says that Federal money helps keep child care afloat. Though, with the qualifying period ending in December of this year the sector needs an alternative.