Some of the public policy issues that this council cares about find themselves downstream of high-quality, accessible child care. If we want people to return to the office, and we do, then they should be able to leave their children somewhere where they know the children will be safe and cared for. Ditto people who want to promote their education or start businesses or run for local office or even want to see a show or any of the other things that make New York lively and dynamic for people from every area of life.
Likewise, solid early learning gives young people a better chance of success in school and careers.
A robust child care system should be relatively easy for most New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code, how much time and energy they may have to fill out endless forms, or their immigration status.
That’s why we’re encouraged by Mayor Adams’ new blueprint for childcare, which emphasizes both access and a commitment to not only create seats, but to have them run by well – prepared staff and actually filled by children in need. This will be a significant management challenge, especially its ambitious goals to streamline the issuance of vouchers, gather all the materials needed to apply under a single portal, and eliminate childcare deserts, including by encouraging property owners to establish centers in empty spaces.
We will watch every step of the execution with interest, but as a roadmap it is a good one that also sets out immediate and straightforward action such as a pledge to invest $ 10 million in providing subsidized care for undocumented children living in the state and federal funding. The city is already plowing ahead with an effort to clear large proof of purchase waiting lists.
While former mayor de Blasio has had a decidedly rocky tenure, there is a reason that even his opponents can praise efforts around Universal Pre-K. He and his staff have performed well and proved that caring for children while providing a stronger foundation for further learning and growth is a good investment.