We have been working hard to connect with elected officials to bring attention to the struggles of child care providers and advocate for more resources in our region. A recent child care round table focused primarily on child care as a workforce issue, sharing compelling data and provider testimonials to make a case for greater investment.
The Birth to Three Alliance helped to organize the meeting, in collaboration with the North Country Workforce Development Board and the Childcare Coordinating Council of the North Country to advocate for more funding for high quality early education. U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik, State Senator Betty Little, and State Assemblyman Billy Jones were all in attendance. With upwards of 90% of businesses in our area reporting that they experience negative impacts of unmet child care needs, the message was loud and clear that child care is a community issue – not a women’s issue or a family issue – but an essential part of a functioning society and economy.
The specific legislative “ask” during the meeting was a request to allocate $1.5 million in the state budget to expand the state’s “facilitated enrollment program” into our region to help working families who make too much to qualify for government assistance but not enough to make ends meet and be able to afford child care.