City Council To Mayor Bloomberg: Save Child-Care Slots

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Most members of the New York City Council have signed a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging him to save child-care subsidies for more than 16,000 low-income children.

All but six of the 51 council members asked the mayor to rescue the 16,462 child-care slots, worth more than $90 million, that would be eliminated under his preliminary budget plan.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Councilmembers Say The Cuts Would Be Devastating

“These cuts will force many low-income working parents to make gut-wrenching choices, such as weighing whether they can afford to continue to work without subsidized child care or whether a non-licensed provider is a safe option for their children,” said the letter provided to The Associated Press on Friday by the office of Annabel Palma, chairwoman of the council’s Committee on General Welfare.

The missive comes a week before the mayor issues his final budget proposal and launches a last round of negotiations with the City Council. Both sides must agree on a balanced budget for next fiscal year by June.

“This is something I think 45 councilmembers have put their name on saying this is a critical service and it makes no sense to cut it,” Councilman Lewis Fidler told 1010 WINS. “If these parents lose their day care, lose the after school programs that go with them then they’re not going to be able to work and we’re going to lose tax money. It makes absolutely no sense.”

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras indicated the issue could be a sticking point in budget negotiations.

“This is a priority fight for us,” she said, adding that agreeing to the child-care cuts “just wouldn’t be responsible.”

The mayor’s preliminary budget also called for the loss of more than 6,000 public school teachers from the city’s classrooms and a number of other reductions that Bloomberg has argued are necessary because of state and federal cuts.

“Unfortunately, the billions of dollars that have been cut from Albany and Washington are having very real world consequences here in the city,” said Bloomberg spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti.

A spokesman for the federal Administration for Children and Families didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The cuts would “have a dire effect on thousands of working families in our city, forcing parents to scramble for alternative care and preventing tens of thousands of children from getting the early education opportunities they deserve,” Palma said in a statement.

Because the city is required by federal law to provide child care to parents on public assistance and those transitioning from welfare to the work force, the proposed cuts would hit parents who have jobs but have incomes of less than twice the federal poverty level.

About 100,000 city children are currently served by the subsidies. The advocacy group Citizens’ Committee for Children says that as of 2009, another 180,000 city children under the age of 5 lived in families that qualified for the program but did not receive care.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Stan Brooks In Memoriam
  • nyc

    Keep your legs closed and stop having babies you can’t afford to take care of ! Poor children /stupid adults !

    • Vicki


    • ToTheIdiotPoster

      Not sure how appropriate that is. I’m leaving a well-paying job to return back to school to further a career transition into something more rewarding but less pay in the end. My wife remains -and will remain- home to raise our child. Now I have to consider what would happen if, out of necessity, a catastrophy hit and we have to deplete some of our savings (which should last us 2.5 years, when I’d only need 2 year to complete my next degree). My wife would have to return back to a low-paying job to try to bring in some cash, but where would we place our toddler if these cuts take place? Don’t assume that the ones affected are of a certain denomination or whatnot, however tempting it may be to do so. We’re not sapping off of the system at all, but the one time we may need some help to live within our means (which is, basically, very frugal, for all intents and purposes… hence the savings!), some draconian measure may force one of my baby’s parents to make a gut-wrenching decision. (And, yes, I am a white, lower-middle class male. See? It’s not what you thought.) Be careful what you say… some of us may actually be able to read between your lines.

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