Albany, NY - March 3, 2014 - More than 170 organizations across New York have signed a letter to State Legislators asking for increases in funding for high-quality child care, Pre-K, and afterschool programs. The organizations have come together through Winning Beginning NY's "Believe in Children" campaign, a coalition of service and advocacy organizations supporting early care and education.
This year, the coalition is making a unified budget recommendation to establish a continuum of quality child care, pre-K, and afterschool programming from birth through high school. This could begin to narrow the achievement gap often experienced by children from low-income families, which typically begins with differences in the quality of affordable child care, grows depending on their access to Pre-K, and continues through a lack of access to afterschool enrichment and summer learning opportunities during the elementary, middle, and high school years.
"Research has found that high quality programs can consistently narrow the gap at each stage of a child's life, and that children need consistent access to such programs to continue making these gains. Establishing universal access, from birth to high school, to places where children can be safe and learn will put all of our children on the right track for success in college, career, and life," states the letter signed by 172 organizations.
The signatories of the letter are calling for significant investments in the 2014-15 State Budget:
· $182 million for child care subsidies;
· $225 million for Pre-K; and
· $8.8 million, with a commitment of $160 million starting in 2015-16, for afterschool.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, 123rd District, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, said ""I fully support the "Believe in Children" campaign. Its agenda reflects my own legislative priorities and the overwhelming sentiment of the hundreds of constituents and advocates I have heard from this year."
Senator Diane Savino, 23rd District, Chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, said, "New York should be a leader when it comes to making quality investments that will help our children succeed. Now is the time to restore critical subsidies that will help make child care more affordable for working families. The research is clear -- by expanding child care, pre-K, and after school programs for those who remain under-served, we will see both short-term gains and long-term dividends for years to come. I applaud Winning Beginning NY for their important advocacy and stand ready to fight for a budget that reflects these priorities."
Jeff Kaczorowski, President, The Children's Agenda, said, "No one program or policy is a "magic bullet." Instead, success begets success, and high quality experiences build on each other. Access to high quality child care, universal pre-kindergarten (UPK), and after school programs is critical to the successful development of children across New York State. However, thousands of children who would benefit are going unserved because of current funding levels. That's why we support Winning Beginning NY's "Believe in Children" campaign. We share the Governor's belief in children. To best support education initiatives and economic development, we must invest in children now, and ambitiously."
Anne Ryan, Executive Director, Read to Succeed Buffalo, said "The foundation of literacy development is built when we are infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The stronger and richer the foundation of language and experience, the better we are prepared for school, college, career and life success. Read to Succeed Buffalo (RTSB) supports the Winning Beginning NY's "Believe in Children" campaign because universal access to high quality child care, pre-K, and early elementary grades will not only improve academic achievement, but is key to our State's economic renaissance as well."
Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses, said, "United Neighborhood Houses' 38 member agencies provide high quality early childhood education and after-school programs in New York City. Our members have firsthand experience providing services that improve children's chances at success and provide needed support to hard-working parents. Our members also know the consequences when families do not receive services because funding levels are inadequate. We support the Winning Beginning NY's "Believe in Children" campaign because we see the need for New York State to have a continuum that supports parents and children with safe, affordable, educational spaces as they grow from infants through high school."
Kate Breslin, President and CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, said, "Investing in kids early with high quality programs -- child care, Pre-K and Afterschool -- provides a foundation for success in school and life. Public investment in high quality child development programs brings significant returns and narrows the achievement gap. We urge the Legislature to increase funding for these programs in the 2014-15 Budget."
Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, Executive Director, New York State Afterschool Network, said, "New York's children deserve comprehensive support for their healthy development, beginning with high-quality child care and pre-kindergarten and continuing through strong afterschool programs that engage students in hands-on educational and enrichment activities and keep them safe during the highest-risk hours of 3 to 6 pm. We join Winning Beginning NY's "Believe in Children" campaign to call for comprehensive programming that supports working families and invests in all our children. "
Susan Antos, Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center, said, "The Empire Justice Center is proud to be a part of this campaign that supports a holistic, multi-year approach that will move New York's investment in early care and learning light-years ahead of where we are now. In particular, we want to thank the Assembly Work Group on Child Care and the Senate Independent Democratic Conference for identifying and championing both policy change and essential investments in New York's child care program, which continues to experience excessive demand as the cost of quality child care has continued to soar to a point where it is all but out of reach for working class parents."
Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, Ph.D. | Executive Director
New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN)
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