NYSAN Helps Launch Believe in Children Campaign

February 4, 2014
Governor asked to provide more funding for childcare, pre-K and afterschool programs
February 04, 2014
Advocates of expanding child care, pre-K and afterschool programs launched the Believe in Children Campaign, calling for increased funding to create a comprehensive system to serve all children, saying additional investments in education will begin to close an achievement gap they say hinges on access to affordable child care services.
"I fully support the priorities of the Believe in Children Campaign," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D–Endwell. "Their agenda certainly reflects the priorities of many of my colleagues in the Assembly and echoes the sentiments expressed by the governor in his recent budget address."
Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D–Yonkers, expressed the dire need in her community for universal full day pre-K. Mayer detailed the plight of parents who have young children and also have to work; saying the half-day pre-K that exists in Yonkers is insufficient. 
"You cannot work and have two-and-a-half-hour pre-K so our [enrollment] numbers dropped precipitously … We need predictable funding and high quality full day pre-K and this is the beginning of that conversation," Mayer said.
Kate Breslin, president of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, said the $100 million Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed investing in pre-K this year is not enough to make a difference.
"We are urging the state to invest $225 million this year to expand high quality full-day pre-K. The governor has proposed $100 million to put into pre-K this year and while this is very exciting and thrilling it is not enough to get us moving," Breslin said.
Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network, said she is pleased to hear the governor is addressing the need for afterschool programs. Niedzielski-Eicher is asking for a $9 million investment in classroom space this year to prepare for the $160 million the governor appropriated in 2015- 2016 for afterschool programs in the Executive Budget.
"The research is very clear that high quality afterschool programs can make a tremendous difference and they can even change life outcomes," said Niedzielski-Eicher
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D–Albany, referenced research that claims high-quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap for students in New York. Statistics on afterschool programs show increases in grade point average and decreases in crime and pregnancy among teenagers, according to Fahy.
"We now have a surplus, before we start talking about giving tax breaks to businesses perhaps we should talk about reinvesting in programs that we have been cutting, we need to invest in afterschool programs and expand on them," added Sen. Diane Savino, D–Staten Island.
Susan Antos, an attorney for the Empire Justice Center, said there is a "crisis" in child care in New York, citing the lack of money in many districts, which has resulted in lowered eligibility levels for enrollment in subsidies. 
"We need to restore subsidies to child care and expand on them, that should be the focus now that we have everyone's attention; it is time to remind them of these quality programs," Savino added.
Edited Wed, Feb 5, 2014 9:42 AM
New York