Hochul Streamlines Childcare Payments with New Direct Deposit Option

J.M. Lesinski

A shot of a neighborhood in Cheektowaga, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The ease of direct deposit is an innovation that keeps thousands on track of their money every day in a fast, convenient way. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation mandating that local social service districts present a direct deposit payment option for subsidized childcare. In line with the legislation, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) must issue these latest regulations within one year its signing.

"Child care is key to our economic recovery from this pandemic, and this measure will expedite the delivery of funds to child care providers and alleviate the financial stress caused by potential delays in receiving subsidy payments," Hochul remarked of the legislation. "We can't have a full economic comeback without boosting child care, and this legislation is another step in a series of bold initiatives I am leading to shore up child care programs statewide and to make quality, affordable child care available to all parents who need it."

Currently, many local social service districts mail paper checks to those eligible, adding unnecessary time to the transaction. The direct deposit payments remove that time barrier for both the beneficiary and administration alike.

"Child care providers serving families supported by subsidy payments rely upon and deserve on-time payments to operate their businesses,” noted OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole of the legislation. “It is essential that we do everything possible to promote the fiscal health of these vital child care programs. This is an important step in modernizing the system and eliminating an administrative hassle for child care programs and local social services districts alike. I commend Governor Hochul for her leadership in supporting our child care providers and look forward to implementing this new legislation."

With the option to eliminate both printing and mailing times from the time to process payments, things will be made easier and more effective for those who need to money soonest, like many New Yorkers living paycheck to paycheck in the current economy.

"Far too often our child care providers work on some of the slimmest margins and we don't need to exacerbate their struggles,” New York State Assemblymember Sarah Clark said of the legislation. “Right now providers must navigate an outdated process requiring subsidy payments to be issued in paper check form, arriving in the mail four to six weeks after submission. Our providers simply cannot afford to wait, particularly as they are also recovering from the pandemic. Allowing direct deposit for child care providers will ensure that those caring for our children have the resources that they need in a timely manner, and will allow them to focus instead on providing the highest quality of care for our children. When CSEA members and local child care providers brought this issue to my attention, introducing this legislation was a no brainer. This is one common-sense solution that will help make providers whole and save the state money. As we continue to address the many other challenges our child care ecosystem faces, supporting families, providers, and children must be the priority. Thank you to Governor Hochul, our child care advocates, and stakeholders for bringing this common sense solution into state law. I look forward to working with you, and my colleagues in the state legislature this upcoming session to achieve our goal of true universal child care for all."

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Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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