State Assembly Passes Legislation to Better Childcare Access, Affordability

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of Bailey Avenue in Buffalo, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The New York State Assembly recently passed two legislative bills aimed at making childcare more affordable and accessible for families across New York state.

“Families across the state have struggled to find safe, reliable childcare since long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores and intensified the problem,” New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remarked of the legislation. “These critical pieces of legislation would remove the burdensome requirements to accessing affordable childcare that prevent parents from trying to improve their circumstances and climb the economic ladder.”

The first bill, A.7661, provides better flexibility for social service districts that provide childcare services. Under the legislation, any social services district would not be mandated to restrict childcare services centered on the work or educational schedules of the child’s parents.

“Anyone who has earned an advanced degree or enrolled in post-secondary vocational and certification programs knows that the work required can often be a full-time job,” said New York State Assembly Member Sarah Clark of the legislation. “As parents make the decision to embark on this path, adding work requirements to access childcare subsidies is often the barrier for those who are trying to obtain an education to advance their career, and an unnecessary burden for our New York families. My legislation will ensure that parents have access to the childcare they require to obtain the educational opportunities needed to better provide for their families.”

The second bill, A.7093, removes the official work requirement for individuals enrolled in educational programs receiving a childcare subsidy. The previous law mandated those individuals work a minimum of 17.5 hours in addition to the time put into getting their education. With the passage of A.7093, parents have a better opportunity to focus on their studies and their family life.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. 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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