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Some New Yorkers Waiting for Child Care May Keep Waiting...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009   

New York, NY — Stop working or send your child to substandard, unlicensed child care: That's the decision facing many New York families because of state budget cuts. Delores Feliciano, mother of two, works as a teacher's aide but does not make enough money to be able to afford child care. Her six-month-old daughter is one of a thousand children on a list in Suffolk County waiting for financial assistance for child care.

On Tuesday, Feliciano got word that no families on the wait list are likely to get help, because of cutbacks. If she wants to keep her job, her only choice is to go to underground child care, and Feliciano says that's out of the question.

"No, you don't want to do that; I would live in my car before I'd do that. You don't know who to trust, you try to work with friends, you know, acquaintances; you don't know them that well; it's very risky. You don't want to do that."

Lawmakers were still putting final touches on the budget Tuesday, but as it stands now, parents in many parts of New York will have reduced or no state financial help with seeking child care.

With a population of 1.5 million, Suffolk County is seeing a surge in lower-paying service jobs. Brian Lahiff of the Child Care Council of Suffolk says now is the worst possible time for the state to be cutting aid for child care.

"What that means is that families looking for that small bridge to be able to afford the child care that allows them to work and keep their children in safe, regulated, developmentally-appropriate child care, will find that bridge is gone."

Lahiff says 38 million dollars is what Suffolk County needs to fund child care for all of the low-income families who need help, but the current budget allocates only 30 million, and that's why nobody on the current waiting list is likely to get help.

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