Gov. Kathy Hochul is looking to raise awareness around expanded child care opportunities in New York state through an advertising campaign announced Tuesday.
The campaign, which will focus on reaching Black and Latino communities, aims to increase the number of families using child care services and assistance. Hochul’s latest announcement follows $7 billion in funding, committed via the state budget in April, to bolster child care access at a time of critical need for families and a struggling industry.
“What is shocking to me right now is only 12 percent of families eligible for childcare assistance are taking advantage of it,” Hochul said at a press conference in midtown Manhattan, alongside Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), herself a longtime proponent of bolstering childcare access on the federal level.
“If they don’t know about it, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t help them,” the governor said.
The campaign will include digital ads, billboards and bus-stop signs among other methods. State officials did not immediately respond to a question on how much the ad campaign will cost.
Child care emerged as a top political issue in Albany during the the run-up to passage of the state budget in April. The industry had been hard-pressed for resources in the years leading up to the coronavirus pandemic. Care centers were closing at rapid clip alongside an affordability problem for families around the state. Covid-19 only worsened the situation.
The $7 billion funding allocation, $4 billion of which was earmarked for New York City, will be made available over a four-year period. The New York City Council is also considering a package of bills that aim to lay the groundwork for universal childcare.
In addition to the ad campaign, the governor announced the launch of another round of child care provider stabilization grants, funded by $343 million in federal funds made available through stimulus packages.
Three-quarters of grant funding will go toward supporting the childcare workforce, Hochul said, in the form of increased wages, bonuses, tuition reimbursement and assistance with workers’ healthcare and retirement contributions.
State officials directed anyone looking for more information to visit OCFS.ny.gov/ccap