Suffolk County residents will get a boost to pay for child care. Starting in August, as part of the 2022-23 New York State budget, families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for assistance. Previously, the state income standard for child care subsidies was 200%. The aid will be administered locally by the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
“A strong childcare system helps build a strong economy,” said Adrian Fassett, CEO of the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc., a Patchogue-based nonprofit that owns and operates Way to Grow Child Care Learning Center in East Patchogue. “The reality is that workers cannot get to work unless they have a safe, quality place to send their children. More and more workers are returning to an office after more than two years of working from home and we must do everything we can to ensure they have access to excellent child care.
Thousands of families will now be eligible for child care subsidies as part of a $7 billion expansion of child care funding in New York State, according to the governor’s office.
“I know firsthand how badly lack of childcare can affect your career, your family and your future as a working mother when I was forced to quit my job to look after of my child,” Governor Hochul said. “These historic investments in New York State’s child care system will allow us to blaze a new trail for parents, especially mothers. It’s the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, and it will spur our economic recovery and support working families. Child care is an essential service, and in New York, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that more working families have access to it.
Parents may be eligible if they are employed and do not earn more than the 300% threshold, are enrolled in an education or training program, undergoing mental health or addiction treatment, or are in a situation of short-term emergency. For example, a family of four can earn up to $83,250 a year and still qualify for subsidized child care. (See chart.)
To find out if you are eligible under these new guidelines, please contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services at (631) 854-3349. Families looking for childcare in the Greater Patchogue area can call Way to Grow Childcare/Learning Center directly at (631) 475-7239.
About the Suffolk Economic Opportunity Council, Inc.