ITHACA, N.Y. –– At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Tompkins County Legislature voted unanimously to put pressure on New York State to release additional child care funding in order to make up for lost revenue due to coronavirus and allow local child care centers to maintain operations as more parents return to work.

In April a grant of almost $164 million was announced for local child care through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Child Development Council Executive Director Sue Dale-Hall told the legislature Tuesday that they’ve only seen about $30 million of that and the rest is, “stuck somewhere at the state level.”

Dale-Hall asked the legislature for help in calling on New York State to release the remainder of the CARES funding, plus an additional $88 million in committed State after-school funds to enable childcare and after school programs to care for children this summer and beyond.

She said that because of new health restrictions that limit the number of children allowed within child care centers, these facilities are running at extreme deficits and could be forced to close without the additional funding. Dale-Hall said small places with limited capacities lose around $5,000 a month, and larger facilities forced to adopt restrictions could lose as much at $38,000 a month.

“We have to recognize that childcare is an economic development issue, we cannot reopen our economy without it,” Legislator Anna Kelles stated at Tuesday’s meeting.

Copies of the approved resolution have been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Tom Reed, NYS Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, NYS Senators Tom O’Mara, James Seward, and Pamela Helming, NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and the New York State Association of Counties.

It is unclear when or if any action will be taken by the state.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com