Here's where Rochester first responders and others with essential jobs can get child-care aid
Essential workers can get financial aid to help cover the cost of child care amid the coronavirus crisis.
The funding was made by the Cuomo administration, through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act.
“Child Care Council applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration for developing a plan to provide child care to essential workers at no cost,” said Barbara-Ann Mattle, CEO, Child Care Council Inc. “Access to affordable, quality child care is a barrier for working parents during the best of times, and even more so during this crisis. The CARES Child Care Scholarship will ensure that children of the essential workforce are protected and cared for as they continue to serve the community.”
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed public and private schools in mid-March, his emergency order mandated that local agencies and school districts work together to establish child care for school-age children of essential workers. His order also allowed daycare centers to remain open.
Essential workers have access to care for children up to age 12. Among the jobs deemed essential: first responders; medical, hospital, nursing home, and group home workers; laboratory workers, mental health providers, and more.
Scholarships are available through county-based child care referral nonprofits, including for Monroe, Wayne and Livingston Counties through the Child Care Council Inc.
While 131 child care centers in Monroe, Livingston and Wayne counties have closed, in addition to dozens of other family, group family and school-age care providers, the child care council has reported well over 100 open slots in each age group, from infants to toddlers, and pre-school to school-age, among those that remain open.
Eligible essential employees can apply at CARES@childcarecouncil.com or (585) 654-4720. Council staff will contact applicants within one to two business days to gather more information.
To qualify, a family's income needs to be less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that's $78,600. A family of three qualifies if they earn less than $65,160.
Funds are available through May 15, or longer if NY on Pause is extended. Retroactive through April 20, said Halas.
Workers can use the aid to pay for child care they already have, or they can get help finding child care through the local child care resource and referral agency.
The governor also announced the CARES funding will also be used to purchase supplies for child care providers statewide who remain open, including masks, gloves, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula and food.
Child Care Resources of Rockland Executive Director Vicki Caramante said child care resource and referral agencies like hers would supply the items. Each such agency is expected to receive grants worth about $600 per provider to purchase and distribute needed items.
"We are hearing programs need cleaning supplies and paper products," Caramante said, "and we are reaching out to ask what other supplies might be required (or) needed."
Halas said that child care is also an essential need, but the industry, like so many others, has suffered a huge financial hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a scary time for child care as it is for many other industries," Halas said. "Many of them have not had sufficient numbers of children coming so they are really suffering financially."
The scholarships not only will help more workers afford quality care, Halas said, "It is an infusion of revenue into a critically needed industry."
- Child Care Council of Westchester at childcarewestchester.org or 914-761-3456
- Child Care Resources of Rockland at childcarerockland.org or 845-425-0009