De Blasio calls on state to release federal stimulus funds for childcare, pass legislation increasing eligibility

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city has hit a new milestone with eight million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Michael Appleton/Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling on Albany to revamp access to childcare for working families in order to help the city’s overall pandemic recovery. 

“It’s the right thing to do for people who have struggled throughout the pandemic and it’s also the right thing to do get people to go back to work,” de Blasio said at his June 1 briefing.

The mayor’s request was two-pronged, urging the state to release $2 million in federal pandemic relief funds slated to go towards childcare and pass legislation sponsored by Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Brooklyn state Senator Jabari Brisport that would change family income and work requirements for childcare. 

The release of funds and the passage of the legislation “could help working families right now,” de Blasio said and potentially expand childcare access to 15,000 New York City children. 

Under the legislation, the income threshold for a family of four to qualify for free or reduced-priced child care would be raised to $70,000 a year. In addition, the bill would grant access to subsidized childcare to New Yorkers working at 20 hours a week. 

According to a 2020 study from the United States Census Bureau, one in five working adults said they were not working during the pandemic due to “disruptions in childcare.”

Executive Director for the Citizens Committee for Children Jennifer March, who joined de Blasio Tuesday, cited another U.S. study claiming 24% of working-age women in the New York City metro area said caring for children was the primary reason they have not been working during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The strength of our economy depends on our working parents and working parents need child care,” said March. ” The health and social-emotional development of children depends on the quality of early childcare in which they are engaged while their parents work.” 

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