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Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation that will Help Families Avert Crisis When they Lose their Child Care Subsidy


December 18, 2014

Contact:  Kristin Brown Lilley, 518-852-5766

Child care is the cornerstone of every working family’s ability to succeed in the employment market.  For low income families, child care often claims a larger proportion of their income than their rent or mortgage, making child care subsidies essential to balancing the family budget.  When local governments are forced to reduce eligibility or increase the parental copayment for child care assistance, it takes time for parents to figure out how they will manage financially – can they cut costs elsewhere in the budget, find cheaper and lower quality child care, or is it more cost effective to quit their job than pay the full cost of child care?
 
Previously, New York State law allowed for just ten days’ notice when families faced the loss of their child care assistance.  Often, that time frame would be shorter because the ten days started from the date on the letter, not the date the letter was received.  With so little notice, families were plunged into crisis – frantically trying to figure out a safe option for care that they could afford.
 
This new law (A.8918) addresses this very real problem by providing three times the amount of notice to parents.
 
“We are so incredibly pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed this critical bill into law.  For parents, having three times as much time to figure out how to adjust to what amounts to a major financial hit will make a real difference.  Now they will have more than a few days to look for another job that will bring in additional income, try to find less expensive quality care, adjust their budget and hopefully make more sound decisions for their family,” said Susan Antos, a Senior Attorney with Empire Justice Center.
 
“This legislation was born out of crisis – local governments being forced to make cuts and families being almost immediately impacted by those cuts and panicking.  We hope that there will be no need for these difficult decisions to be made in the near future, but should that happen, this new law will help minimize the intensity of the crisis by allowing families more time to plan,” said Kristin Brown Lilley, Vice President for Policy and Government Relations for Empire Justice Center.  “We thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill, and the bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes and Senator Grisanti, for championing the issue.  This is a win-win for New Yorkers,” she concluded.

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Empire Justice Center is a statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy, public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low income families live.  Empire Justice protects and strengthens the legal rights of people in New York State who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised through systems change advocacy, training and support to other advocates and organizations, and high quality direct civil legal representation.  Empire Justice has offices in Albany, Rochester, Westchester and on Long Island.