Public Policy & Advocacy
Through research and support of child care friendly public policy and advocacy, Child Care Council of Nassau serves as an informational resource and public voice for issues facing Nassau County’s diverse communities. Our involvement in Public Policy includes participation in various organizations and coalitions, assisting in the formulations of legislative agendas and educating elected officials about specific child care issues, as well as informing the public about issues via newsletters, email alerts, Facebook and Twitter and urging constituent actions (including legislative visits, letters, emails and tweets. Much of our Public Policy activities are included below.
New York State Initiatives:
Child Care Council of Nassau believes New York State must ensure that parents have access to high-quality early care and learning programs. We support the WinningBeginningNY (New York State's early care and learning coalition) initiatives that call for investing funds in child care subsidies, Universal Pre-K and Universal After School programs. These programs are essential for children’s success and the economic recovery of our county. Child Care Council of Nassau works closely with Child Care Council of Suffolk to advocate for quality care for all children. View the Winning Beginning NY Legislative Agenda for 2016 here.
As members of the WinningBeginningNY coalition, Council assisted in the creation of the 2016 Legislative Agenda outlining the priorities and continuum of high quality services essential to young children and their families and containing budget requests for specific programs. The agenda included a request to state legislators to help support an increase of $807 million in child care funding in the federal budget considering the additional costs of implementing the new federal child care regulations.
President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative: Within the president’s FY2014 budget submitted to Congress was a new early learning initiative – an historic opportunity for all young children throughout America. Council supports President Obama's plan to make affordable. It included funding for:
· High Quality Preschool for every child
· Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships
· Child Care and Development Block Grant
· Expansion of Home Visiting
For more info, see Summary of President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative
Pending Federal Legislation: The Strong Start for America’s Children Act (SSACA) was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the Senate (S.1697) and Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) in the House (HR 3461). This act would significantly expand access to high-quality pre-school for 4 year olds from low and moderate income families through state-federal partnerships. It would also increase access to high quality infant and toddler care through an optional set-aside and partnerships between Early Head Start and child care programs. For a summary of the bills see “Fact Sheet: The Strong Start for America’s Children Act: Summary” We urge child care advocates to encourage your local House member to support the Strong Start for America’s Children Act!
CCDBG Reauthorization: With the recent passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, which includes basic improvements to the CCDBG program to ensure that children are safe when in child care. This CCDBG Reauthorization provides some common sense, low-cost provisions that will greatly improve the quality of child care. One important requirement is ensuring that providers have criminal background checks.
A Picture of Long Island’s Children
A report entitled The Child Care Industry: an integral Part of the Long Island Economy was released at a meeting of the Long Island Association (LIA). The report is part of a campaign that aims to highlight the economic importance of child care on Long Island. the report was funded by the Rauch Foundation and United Way of Long Island and was written by LIA chief economist, John Rizzo with contributions from Child Care Councils of Nassau and Suffolk and CJ2 Communications Strategies. The LIA agreed to make child care a top priority.
The 2009 Long Island Index (has not yet been updated to 2013) reported that there is capacity to serve approximately 61,841 children in regulated early childhood setting on Long Island. 75% of families using regulated child care are paying more than 10 percent of their household income on that care. The average annual cost of a licensed child care program is close to $14,000 per child in Nassau County. It is even more expensive for children under the age of two.
A 2012 LI Index report states that quality child care is inconsistent. It stresses the need to improve coordination among providers. The study also recommends professional development for providers, establishing incentives for providers to participate in New York State’s Quality Stars program, and specific actions to improve access. Most important is the need for parents to recognize the value of early childhood services.
Nassau County decreased the subsidy eligibility level in January of 2013 to 200% of poverty level (from 275% for a family of 2 and 225% for a family of 4.) This resulted in a significant loss for families.
Quality We continue to urge New York to move forward with implementing QUALITYstarsNY (QSNY). QSNY is a quality rating system that will provide program improvement support to early childhood programs and offer parents the tools and information to make informed choices about early childhood programs. Field tests have been conducted and funding is needed for the first year of implementation.
Universal Pre-K: We continue to support maintaining and expanding number of children enrolled in high-quality universal Pre-K.
Please visit our Action Center & Resources section for more information and specific links.