Capitol Notes

Cuomo administration mum on overdue child care report

A comprehensive state report on child care availability that was due last month has yet to be made public by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

The recommendations from the Child Care Availability Task Force, which was first convened by the governor in 2018, are expected to call for systemic changes to the way New York funds and delivers this critical service, according to multiple sources familiar with the report.

There was an expectation that the report would be publicized after the release of the governor’s budget, which includes a memorandum noting that some of the child care policies being advanced by Cuomo “draw on recommendations from the Child Care Availability Task Force.”

“We were told two weeks ago it was done, ready to go,” said a task force member “I don’t know what the hold up is.”

A spokesperson for the state’s Office of Children and Family Services, the agency largely coordinating the task force, said Monday afternoon they would “look into” the issue, when asked for a copy of the report and why it wasn’t released. The spokesperson did not respond to follow up inquires on Tuesday.

With the state in the middle of crafting a new budget and hundreds of millions of federal child care dollars from the December stimulus up for grabs, task force members are anxious to have their work publicized and implemented.

“(The report) was the result of policy makers, policy influencers, child care providers, people with a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, and at least two years of work put into it,” said a task force member. “The recommendations are solid … and will lead us to a sustainable system, as opposed to just immediate finger-in-the-dike Band-Aids.”

In the spring and summer, the Cuomo administration came under fire for their response to the child care crisis in New York, which had been exacerbated by the pandemic. Stakeholders faulted the state for not rolling out federal relief funds fast enough and for failing to respond with the appropriate policy gravitas.

Draft recommendations from the task force were sent to the governor in May.

 

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