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American Almanac
Journal of Children & Poverty

Reports and Briefs

Little Room to Play: How Changes to City Child-Care Policies Reduce Opportunities for Working Families

ACS has effectively restricted access to services for low-income working families not receiving PA, shifted costs to families, and diverted those families to other City services. While it is promising that Mayor Bloomberg and the city council have restored funding for child-care services to ensure that no child or family will lose crucial support this year, shortfalls in future budgets may jeopardize the investment that the City has made in low-income children. Lawmakers should continue to fully fund child-care programs in the coming years so that low-income working families can continue to pursue avenues toward self-sufficiency. Raising the standard of care under EarlyLearn is but a first step toward a brighter future for children in low-income families; ensuring that they retain access to these services as they grow is the next.

At the state level, New York should exempt each single-parent family on PA from mandatory work requirements during the year after a child is born. If a parent on PA were allowed to stay at home and care for a newborn, additional subsidies would be made available for low-income working families. Twenty-five states already have similar laws. New York State would be able to direct an estimated $16.4 million toward subsidies for low-income families. A bill to allow this exemption is currently under consideration in the state Senate.(xxii)

As it stands, current policy obstructs the ultimate goal of keeping low-income families working, off public assistance, and out of homeless shelters. The cost of public assistance or shelter far exceeds the cost of providing child care. ACS has introduced a high-risk policy that will not only yield unintended higher public costs, but also limit the possibilities for these families to remain or become a stable part of the taxpayer base.


Ralph da Costa Nunez, PhD

President, Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

For questions or additional copies contact:

Linda Bazerjian, Director of External Affairs

lbazerjian@Icph · 212.358.8086 x1204

(xxii)The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Legal Aid Society, and Empire Justice Center, Memorandum of Support A.8101 (Titus)/S.5586 (Savino), June 2011; State Senate of New York, S5586-2011.

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