Bellone and Child Care Advocates Join to Announce Another Increase in Child Care Subsidy
By Vanessa B. Streeter (Office of County Executive Bellone)
County Executive Bellone was joined by Child Care advocates to announce that Suffolk County will increase its child care subsidy to 150% of the State Income Standard (SIS). Currently Suffolk County provides subsidies that assist 4,106 children. This increase will allow 600 more children to be served and ease the burden of families.
The increase in the subsidy will also have a positive effect on the child care industry in Suffolk County as it will allow child care agencies to increase their staffing levels thereby allowing more people to contribute to Suffolk County’s economy.
“I am proud to announce that Suffolk County is increasing its child care subsidy again this year,” said County Executive Bellone. “I included additional funding of $3.5 million in the 2013 budget to address the subsidy cut last year and our Department of Social Services has been actively working to advocate for funding of the program. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Suffolk County State Delegation for increasing the funding received by Suffolk County under the Child Care Block Grant. All of these measures, coupled with the steadfast advocacy of labor, child care agencies and social service organizations provides Suffolk County with the ability to increase the child care subsidy and service more children who are in need of quality day care services.”
“This means that families are going to continue to work,” said Legislator DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), Chairman of the Legislature’s Human Services Committee. “Unfortunately when we cut funding, families have to make the decision of whether they can keep child care or whether they put their children in unsafe situations or reduce their benefits and salaries to qualify, or quit their jobs altogether– all decisions we do not want them to make. We want to keep them working.”
“By raising the child care eligibility limits, more working parents will no longer have to choose between dependable child care and going to work,” stated Legislator Rob Calarco.
Based on current trends, current funding amounts and more precise forecasting, Suffolk County’s Department of Social Services will be able to sustain this level of subsidy at least through December 2014. The newly adopted income guidelines are listed below:
New Income Guidelines
||County Child Care Block Grant – 150%
Statements of Support:
Kathy Liguori, HabiTots Preschool and Child Care Center stated, “This child care subsidy is not another taxpayer handout perceived to be taken advantage of, but rather a raised hand of support.”
“The positive ripple effect of this incremental step that CE Bellone has created by raising the income eligibility to 150%, allows the family of three to earn $400 a month more, it creates 140 jobs in the child care industry and it will generate $10 million back into Suffolk county’s economy just by those two variables alone and we know there are many more.”
Nick LaMorte, CSEA Long Island Region President-“Once again, County Executive Bellone demonstrates that child care for working families is a priority. Child care subsidies help keep parents working and help children access stable, quality early learning and care programs that prepare them for school and beyond. Hundreds of child care providers stay in business which is good for employers and other local businesses. I applaud County Executive Bellone and our local government for working together with us to support working families and economic recovery and growth in Suffolk County.”
Roxanne Savage, 30-yr Family Child Care Provider, Holbrook-“We know families are less likely to advance and get out of poverty when the cards are stacked against them. Investing in child care leads to economic stability and growth for our communities. Just about a year ago, 250 of us VOICE/CSEA child care providers took action and gathered on the steps of the County Office building in Hauppauge to demand recognition of this issue. Meetings with the County Executive ensued and we were heard. Child care subsidies that keep parents working, advancing and off welfare rolls will now be there for children who wouldn’t have access to quality programs before. We are pleased to see the County understands the benefits of this program for working families, local businesses, our children and our communities.”
Maria Acevedo, Voices/CSEA Latina, “We are very grateful for the County Executive’s effort regarding the increase in childcare subsidies and look forward to a continued working relationship.”
Photo above right: (Maria Acevedo, VOICE/CSEA Latinas, Janet Wallerstein- Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Suffolk, Legislator DuWayne Gregory, Legislator Rob Calarco, Adrian Fassett, President/Chief Executive Officer-Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Kathy Liguori-HabiTots Child Care, County Executive Steve Bellone, John O’Neill, DSS Acting Commissioner, Roxanne Savage, Family Child Care Provider, Tiffany Castro, Parent Advocate, Trudy Trujillo, Family Child Care Provider)