Child care on the budget chopping block in NYC

Child care on the budget chopping block in NYC

by 99% New York

Along with other vital services, child care is currently being reviewed for budget cuts in New York City. Child care is a building block for the family and community and we hope to see to see budgets restored for people who can’t afford private care. The following article was reported by NY 1:

Even before city commissioners landed in the hot seat in the City Council chamber, the fight over Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts was playing out on the steps of City Hall.

“Child care is the underpinning for any kind of economic stability, along with housing,” said Lisa Caswell of the Day Care Council of New York. “If you take away the child care, you not only deprive the child, you put the child at risk, but you primarily destabilize the whole family. It’s obvious.”

36,000 positions in child care programs are on the budget chopping block. Council members demanded to know what parents are supposed to do when they have to work and they have no child care.

“I am obviously troubled by where we sit today and would like to be in a different place,” said Ronald Richter, the commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services.

“In one of the richest cities in the world, we can’t take care of our children,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin of Manhattan. “That is a shame for all of us. And the mayor has the money. And he’s telling us he is balancing this budget and he’s not raising taxes? Well he is raising taxes on the poor and working families.”

The child care cuts are not the only source of contention. The city also provoked a backlash from the council over its efforts to improve early education and child care to young New Yorkers. It has launched a new program, known as Early Learn.

Some veteran child care operators failed to win contracts for the new program. Critics charge that the local centers are being passed over in favor of ones that have no ties to the local community.

“Why did you do this?” said Councilman Domenic Recchia of Brooklyn. “That is the question.”

In all likelihood some of the cuts members are most upset by will end up being restored with City Council money. In the meantime, budget negotiations will last for another few weeks. A final budget deal must be in place by the end of June.