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Op-Ed: Decoupling Child Care

Dec. 14, 2023 By Diana Limongi

Right now, families who need and rely on child care assistance in New York State are prohibited from using child care for any time outside scheduled work. 

Governor Hochul has the power to make life easier for working parents by signing legislation that ends the punitive and disruptive policy of tying parents’ access to subsidized child care to their work schedules

Right now, child care subsidies are tied to child care attendance, which must match a parent’s exact work hours. It’s a practice that especially hurts single and low-income parents because they do not have care for their children while they take care of their health, go to school, get a certification course or manage other pressing matters. Imagine being a parent who has a medical condition that requires attention, but you cannot visit a doctor because there is nobody to care for your child while you do. 

This policy also harms child care providers, who would fare better if they were paid by enrollment. 

Senate Bill 5327A/Assembly Bill 4986A would make it easier for parents with fluctuating and non-traditional work hours to access child care. Without a doubt, this bill would create more stability for children, families and the child care providers who serve them. 

Life happens, and child care should support – not impede – parents’ ability to deal with life’s emergencies. We urge Gov. Hochul to sign it into law, so many more parents can access child care that works for their families. 

Diana Limongi is a parent advocate, campaign director at MomsRising/MamásConPoder and member of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care. She lives in Astoria

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