By Robin Hood and Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy | February 22, 2022

What they’re saying — Richard R. Buery, Jr., CEO of Robin Hood: “Even before the pandemic, our state faced a child care crisis, and COVID-19 exposed a critical truth: child care is foundational to New York’s recovery. Without access to affordable and high quality child care, parents have struggled to get back to work. At the same time, those we trust to watch over our children are stuck earning near-poverty wages. Budgets are about priorities, and there are no higher priorities than ensuring our children have the best possible start to their lives and getting families back on their feet post-pandemic. This analysis shows that investing in child care would jumpstart our economic recovery and lift tens of thousands of our neighbors out of poverty — in other words, it’s an investment in our future.”

The policy — As New York legislators and Governor Kathy Hochul debate the state budget, a new analysis by Robin Hood and Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy explored the impact of increasing the state’s investment in child care so that: (a) families making below four times the federal poverty line would not pay for child care; (b) families making more would receive a partial subsidy on a sliding scale; and (c) child care workers would be paid at least $45,000 annually.

The impact — We already know that improving access to high quality child care will support more children during a critical window of opportunity for socio-emotional development. Research has shown child care can have lifelong positive effects on educational outcomes and future earnings. This analysis further shows that increasing the state’s investment in child care will lift more than 80,000 New Yorkers out of poverty and allow 76,000 parents with children under three to return to the workforce. More than one million families would see increased income thanks to this policy. Specifics:

  • Reducing Poverty: 84,000 New Yorkers, including 14,000 children under three years old, would be lifted out of poverty (reducing the state’s poverty rate by 2.7% and child poverty by 12%);
  • Getting New Yorkers Back to Work: Investing in child care would allow 76,000 single parents or secondary earners to re-enter the workforce (increasing the employment rate for these New Yorkers by 5.3% and their average annual hours worked by 5.3%); and
  • Increased Income: Income for 1.2 million New York families, including 906,000 families with children under three(+$2,100 per year) and 277,000 families of child care workers (+$13,000 per year), would see their incomes increase


Read the full analysis here.