The parents of 10,800 New York City kids are in danger of losing their subsidized child care as early as the end of June due to budget cuts and Mayor Michael Bloomberg restructuring the funding system for day care programs. Day care centers in the city’s Latino, Asian and black communities are the hardest hit.
Ronald Richter, commissioner of the New York City ACS, explained 6,500 spots in city-funded centers would lose their funding unless a $71.5 million shortfall is filled.
In addition, 4,300 vouchers, which allow parents to receive subsidized child care at non-city funded centers, would also lose their funding unless an $11.8 million shortfall was filled.
When asked what parents are supposed to do with their children, who no longer have subsidized child care, when they go to work, Richter replied, “We, for families who are losing ACS, are going to work with them to try to answer person by person that question. We will obviously, based on what you are looking at, not have a satisfactory answer for each individual and that is painful.”
Washington Heights, which is predominantly black and Latino could be one of the areas hardest hit by the budgets cuts and restructuring, according to the Manhattan Times:
“The 10033 zip code is wiped out,” explained Nereida Hill, Executive Director of the Washington Heights Day Care Center, located on 175th Street between Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue.
Hill was referring what amounts to an eradication of most of the early childhood education programs in the 10033 zip code.
Hill noted that while the discussion in light of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts on recent budget cuts has focused on after-school programs, three daycare service providers - the Washington Heights Day Care Center, Quo Vadis Daycare, and La Familia Day Care - may be forced to close.
At least four major Chinatown day care centers will close, David Chen, executive director of the Chinese-American Planning Council told the Epoch Times.
“Let me illustrate to you what kind of kids we take care of,” Chan said. The center looks after a boy who wears his sister’s hand-me-down pants, a child who spends his nights at homeless shelters with his mother to avoid his abusive father, and the child of a mother who works six days a week because the father was in Iraq.
The Jewish Daily Forward reports there is one group who has succeeded in swooping up city funds during the restructuring:
A Hasidic rabbi’s little-known childcare network has stoked tensions throughout New York City by beating out scores of well-established groups to win a huge contract for subsidized day care programs.
The network, called B’Above Worldwide Institute, is set to receive contracts worth roughly $31 million annually for 3,000 children at 42 day care centers under New York City’s newly reorganized subsidized child care system. That’s 1,000 more children than will be served by the city’s next-largest subsidized child care network. All this for an organization that many in the field say they had never heard of a month ago.
B’Above said that only half of its new seats will serve Jewish children. And other Jewish-run groups have operated subsidized child care programs in non-Jewish communities. But B’Above’s contract is unprecedented in its size, and many of the centers it will run will replace longstanding neighborhood organizations, upsetting delicate political balances and infuriating elected officials representing both Jewish and non-Jewish neighborhoods.
“This is a bad deal for thousands of struggling families, a bad deal for dedicated, low paid workers and ultimately a bad deal for all the people of New York,” Luz Santiago, Associate Director of AFSCME District Council 1707, which represents many of the city’s child care and Head Start employees, told Our Time Press.
(h/t Voice of New York)