City Council Funds for Child Care Means More Control Over Programs

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The city's budget agreement Monday not only restores funds for child care, it also gives the city council more control over which centers will continue to stay open. This could mean good news for several organizations who failed to win city contracts through a new selection process.

The Bloomberg administration said the new system would raise educational standards and increase family supports by improving the screening of families. But over the last several weeks, long standing child care providers from across the city that lost out on contracts have been holding protests and complaining that the process didn't give enough weight to their experience in a particular community.

City Council members have been sympathetic to their pleas.

Now that the city council is using its discretionary funds to foot the bill for restored and additional subsidized day care slots, the council will also get to choose the providers that will receive that extra money. The council funding, however, is only good for one year, while other centers will receive three-year contracts.

Councilman Robert Jackson of Upper Manhattan said the Council plans to restore funding to programs that had been in existence for decades and proven themselves to be of high quality. "When it's our money that we're putting in, we want to have a say in where they go,” Jackson said, adding that the council will make sure numbers in council districts remain constant.

Some programs lost out on contracts because they were located in more well to do neighborhoods where the need was thought to be less. Council Speaker Chris Quinn said in a recent press release that the process had excluded low income families living in affluent zip codes and the Council would reverse this. 

The council restored funding for about 7,000 subsidized child care slots.