From Harlem To Hollis PA James Calls for Tripling Funding To CUNY

June 4, 2015

Letitia JamesPublic Advocate Letitia James today released a report recommending that the City increase its contribution to the CUNY budget for child care from $500,000 to $1.53 million to ensure that every child receives the care and opportunities needed.

Public Advocate James’ report recommends the funding go toward increasing the number of child care slots, increasing pay and benefits for child care staff, and increasing data collection, research and outreach efforts.

“No parent should have to choose between their family and going to school or work,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “But, unfortunately, the staggering costs of child care keep too many New Yorkers trapped in poverty. The City must increase funding to CUNY child care centers to ensure that families have the opportunity to get ahead in an economy that increasingly requires higher education.”

City funding for CUNY child care programs has remained flat at $500,000 since 1980. Over the past 35 years, there has been an increased demand for services and an increased cost to provide these services.

“The report powerfully affirms the importance of child care services and support for college students with children across New York City,” said Frank Sanchez, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. “We commend Public Advocate Letitia James on this important policy brief.”

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“CUNY child care programs meet two critical needs.  First they promote success for parents seeking higher education, and second, these early education programs  prepare their children to succeed in school.  That makes these programs one of the best investments the city can make, by creating an effective two- generation strategy to support low-income families on the path to success,” said Betty Holcomb, policy director for the Center for Children’s Initiatives. “We applaud the Public Advocate for calling on the city to increase its investment in these critical services, to expand access and ensure the staff in these programs are appropriately compensated for the valuable work that they do.”

“As this report shows, access to affordable, reliable, and high-quality child care is crucial to the success of student parents at CUNY and at campuses around the country,” said Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “These findings demonstrate that better access to child care, especially at community colleges where the largest share of student parents are enrolled, can play a critical role in helping these students manage their care and work obligations so that graduation becomes a reality.”

A 2014 survey of all CUNY campus child care centers found that 91% of student parents said it would be “difficult” or “very difficult” to attend school without campus child care. According to Public Advocate James’ report, titled “Relieving the ‘Third Shift’: The Case for Expanding Child Care at CUNY Community Colleges,” students with dependent children – especially single mothers – are at higher risk of dropping out, accumulating higher debt, and are more dependent on campus childcare for success in school. Even as student parents manage to graduate, the lack of child care services often delays their graduation and increases the amount of debt they accrue.

Read the full report:

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