All Our Kin, a national nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and sustains family child care educators, today released a set of policy recommendations.
They are calling on New York City Mayor Eric Adams to take action to stabilize and grow family child care to ensure the City’s economy works for all families.
This announcement follows Mayor Adams’ remarks this week on his Administration’s commitments on expanding access to child care.
Family child care – provided in an in-home setting by a licensed provider – is one of the most prevalent forms of care in New York City, comprising nearly three-quarters of providers and 37 percent of the city’s licensed child care capacity for children from birth to five. Most family child care educators are women – many are Black and brown women. Their labor is helping to keep the economy afloat, but many are struggling to make ends meet themselves due to low wages as they provide flexible care for working families across the City.
“The pandemic has exacerbated New York City’s long-standing child care crisis,” said Jessica Sager, co-founder and CEO of All Our Kin. “With families facing increasing difficulties in finding child care, what we’ve long known has become patently clear: The city that never sleeps needs child care that never sleeps, and our economic recovery depends on the availability of accessible, high-quality child care. We are encouraged by Mayor Adams’ commitment to improving our child care system, and see an unprecedented opportunity to include support for family child care educators in his plans.”
Clear the backlog of child care subsidy applications. The City of New York has a months-long backlog in processing applications for child care subsidies. As a result, parents are unable to start work. The Adams Administration should grant presumptive eligibility to all families that meet subsidy eligibility requirements in order to clear the backlog. This will enable parents to return to work and prepare children for school.
Prioritize provider pay and benefits by announcing the inclusion of FY 2023 funds to increase FCC reimbursement rates; developing a plan to include family child care in the City’s pay parity agreement with center-based pre-K teachers; and exploring options for the City to pay providers’ health insurance and retirement premiums. The city should also offer hazard pay for FCC providers.
Appoint a Family Child Care Advisory Committee. The Mayor should appoint a diverse group of FCC providers and parent leaders to advise the Administration on a vision and strategies to increase support for family child care. The city should also distribute health and safety resources in multiple languages, and provide regular, two-way communication with FCC providers to reduce stresses that contribute to their decisions to close.
Reinvest in Family Child Care Provider Networks. Family Child Care Networks are a research-based way to support quality, sustainability, and community among FCC educators. New York City’s existing FCC Networks hold the potential to give educators what they need to thrive. Unfortunately, insufficient funding and an overemphasis on compliance has forced Networks and providers to spend less time focused on the quality activities that work. The Administration should reinvest in the existing Network infrastructure and engage FCC educators, parents, and network staff to understand how to best support the city’s 5,900 FCC programs.
The city must also ensure all family child care educators have access to robust professional learning opportunities, as well as business training and coaching from staff who are knowledgeable about family child care business models. This training must be inclusive of all FCCs, not just those in Networks.
“Mayor Adams has called universal child care a ‘moral imperative.’ He stated this week that the work of care is essential, and that his Administration would treat it that way,” said Sager. “The Mayor has an opportunity to seize the moment, be a vanguard of change, and invest in our City’s long-term economic stability. A key way to make that a reality is by making the critical work of family child care providers intrinsic to his child care policy.”
These recommendations were presented during a call on Thursday. A recording of the call is available upon request.
All Our Kin is a national nonprofit organization that trains, supports and sustains family child care educators. Through All Our Kin’s programming, educators build sustainable child care businesses, parents have access to stable, high-quality child care, and children gain the educational foundation that lays the groundwork for success in school and life.