Hevesi, Brisport Participate in White House Convening on Child Care

New York, NY – Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D – Queens), Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Children & Families, joined White House senior staff – including Jennifer Klein, Assistant to the President and Director of the Gender Policy Council, and Zayn Siddique, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility – in a virtual convening last Tuesday to discuss strategies to improve access and affordability of childcare.

The convening was attended by 16 legislators from 13 states, including Assemblyman Hevesi’s Senate counterpart, Jabari Brisport, who chairs the New York State Senate Committee on Children & Families.

In the meeting, White House representatives were looking to hear directly from legislators about what their states have been working on to tackle barriers to childcare – including addressing affordability, providing support to the workforce, increasing the amount of childcare slots, and expanding eligibility for assistance.

Hevesi and Brisport reported that New York State used federal funds and new state funds from the last several years to begin stabilizing the childcare sector, and to make historic expansions to childcare assistance – amounting to the largest single investment in children in the history of the State of New York.

Assistant to the President Klein and Deputy Assistant Siddique pointed to investments from the Biden Administration through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which provided vital aid for legislatures to implement payment increases to providers and stabilization for childcare agencies. Siddique noted that the investments in childcare are also investments in economic security – a position shared by the legislators, particularly after the struggles families and providers experienced through the pandemic. New York was among the states that utilized ARP stimulus funds, which included a rollout of a stabilization grant program for providers, administered by the New York State Office of Children and Families Services (OCFS).

Assemblyman Hevesi thanked the Biden Administration, White House staff, and the legislators in the meeting, and expressed interest in continuing a collaborative dialogue – interest which was shared by the White House representatives on the call, who noted they would follow up with the Assemblyman’s office to discuss further opportunities to partner in this realm.

“President Biden knows how critical childcare is for families’ economic security and for the country’s economic prosperity. That’s why his budget for this fiscal year includes an investment of $600 billion in early care and education that would fund states to provide universal preschool for four-year-olds and subsidize high-quality childcare from birth to age five for families earning up to $200,000,” the White House stated in a subsequent press release. “States are taking important action to tackle childcare access and affordability, including by increasing supply, shoring up the workforce, and expanding eligibility for childcare assistance. Many of these efforts are supported through investments secured by President Biden as a part of the American Rescue Plan.”

“It was an honor and privilege to take part in this meeting. I am incredibly grateful to President Biden and his administration’s team for the crucially important stabilization dollars provided during the pandemic and the opportunity to explore avenues for future partnership. Thank you to Shanita Bowen from ECE On The Move, for nominating me to participate. I’m also grateful to stand with New York State’s staunch supporters of childcare: Speaker Heastie, Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Brisport, our friends at OCFS, and our advocate partners who have kept childcare at the forefront for the past two years.” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children & Families.

“It’s encouraging that the Biden administration has advocated for increasing the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $1 billion, though the crisis is now so dire that New York will have to raise additional state revenue to adequately address it,” said Senator Jabari Brisport, Chair of the Senate Committee on Children & Families. “I was glad to have the opportunity to express concerns over the President's proposal that semiconductor manufacturers who get federal subsidies be required to fund childcare for their employees; tying healthcare to employers was a mistake that should not be repeated with childcare. 80% of your brain forms by the time you turn 3. Childcare is education and should be treated as such: a civil right that’s free for all – not an employer perk.”

“By making childcare a priority and pushing Universal Child Care forward, Assemblyman Hevesi and Senator Brisport are beacons for children and families, the early care and education workforce, communities and the economy. The Senator and Assemblyman listened to everyone affected by the childcare crisis and we support their recommendations submitted at the White House convening on childcare.” said Shanita Bowen, Director of Operations, ECE on the Move.

“New York State is lucky to have fierce, visionary champions for childcare in Senator Brisport and Assemblymember Hevesi. For years, they have led the fight in New York for a just and equitable expansion of childcare assistance, and a thriving wage for the childcare workforce,” said Dede Hill, Policy Director for the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. “To have them now working closely with a White House that has also championed broad access to childcare puts New York on closer to our goal of universal childcare for all of New York’s children.”