Press Release

Business, Labor and Nonprofit Groups Launch New Coalition to Increase Child Care Access for NYC Families



February 20, 2024

Share This

Better Child Care NYC puts forth plan to create more child care centers, get new centers online faster, and expand much-needed service to more New Yorkers

NEW YORK, NY – Approximately 20 business, labor and nonprofit groups today launched Better Child Care NYC, a coalition focused on policies to increase child care access for New York City families.

The coalition was convened by District Council 37 and The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), and includes the Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Phipps Houses, Vivvi and all five New York City borough chambers of commerce, among others. The full list of coalition members can be seen here.

Better Child Care NYC was formed in response to a crisis facing this key sector. Nearly all of New York City’s neighborhoods are “child care deserts,” in which there are no child care seats available for local families. It is not currently possible to address this problem due to inadequate or outdated policies that make it unnecessarily difficult to create new child care centers, open them in a timely manner and meet the needs of New York residents.

The lack of affordability for working class families is one of the most critical issues facing New York City today. Better Child Care NYC is calling for the following State and City policy changes:

  • Fix the NYC Child Care Property Tax Credit: Current credits do not cover the cost of creating a new child care center. The State should enable the City to increase the value of each tax credit, which will help create thousands more child care seats. This policy change would not require any additional subsidy.

  • Extend Child Care Hours: Regulations impacting operating hours force many families to choose between earning income and utilizing child care services. The City Council can introduce legislation to remove barriers for extending child care hours, for instance from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which would give parents more job flexibility to support their household.

  • Lift Outdated Restrictions While Ensuring Safety: City law only allows infant and toddler child care on the ground floor of buildings, which significantly reduces child care seats. Policymakers can amend this law to allow centers above and below ground floors, while ensuring that such centers continue to operate safely.

  • Streamline the Permitting Process: Even when child care centers are built, it takes far too long to get them online due to an unnecessarily complicated permitting process that requires three different City agencies. Policymakers can solve this problem by consolidating the process within a single agency and creating a fast track for child care permit approvals.

“We need child care options that are accessible, affordable, and meet the needs of our members who work full-time jobs, often with second shifts and mandatory overtime,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37. “We are pleased to partner with REBNY and this coalition to advocate for updated legislation that will create more available sites for quality, center-based care.”

“Increasing access to high quality child care is critical for supporting working class families and strengthening New York City’s economy,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “We look forward to working with this diverse array of partners and State and City officials to improve child care for families all across the five boroughs.”

"Better Child Care NYC offers common-sense policy solutions that will directly address one of the most critical issues facing the city—our lack of child care access,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “The Alliance for Downtown New York is proud to be a part of this diverse coalition that aims to positively impact families across New York City by offering a set of achievable plans to improve child care."

"For far too long, lack of access to reliable and affordable childcare has been a barrier for families and businesses," said Lisa Sorin, president of The Bronx Chamber of Commerce. "The Bronx Chamber is delighted to support and be a member of the Better Child Care NYC coalition, which seeks to systemically address childcare equity through common sense solutions and modifications to the existing tax credit program. We look forward to this partnership and delivering child care for all New Yorkers."

“New York must do better to ensure our working class can afford to raise a child in the greatest borough and city in the world,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber is proud to join this coalition fighting to end this childcare crisis and focused on improving the economic future of Brooklyn and New York City.”

"Comprehensive, accessible child care is absolutely essential to a strong, equitable economy, and for the futures of our families," said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. "Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is proud to join the Better Child Care NYC coalition and advocate for increased access to child care both in our neighborhood and across all five boroughs. Through common sense policies that will ease the process of opening child care centers, extend ours of operation, and make childcare more affordable, we can address the current gap and ensure our city will always be able to support families."

"If we want families to live, work, and raise their children in NYC, the future of our city depends on the availability of affordable, high-quality child care," said Grace Rauh, Executive Director of the 5BORO Institute. "The 5BORO Institute believes it will be critical to build a broad coalition of stakeholders to push for transformational change and we commend REBNY and DC37 for bringing this group together. Broad action is required to build the child care system we need for the future and the policy agenda being put forward by Better Child Care NYC offers an important starting point."

"We must reimagine childcare to fit the real life needs of working families", said Ramon Peguero, President & CEO at the Committee for Hispanic Children & Families. "We look forward to working with our coalition partners to find innovative solutions to this pressing issue for both children and families."

“With 25 years of impact in the sector and a focus on scaling our early care and education (ECE) work across New York City’s five boroughs, we are excited and proud to join visionary leaders from business, labor and other nonprofits as part of this new collective impact initiative, Better Child Care NYC,” said Shelly Masur, ECE Vice President, Advisory and State Policy of Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). “We are aligned in our belief that policy interventions that support facilities development and improve conditions for families – running the gamut from increasing tax credits and extending hours to allowing centers above ground floors and streamlining the permit process – will ensure access to affordable, high-quality ECE for all New York City families and children, no matter their ZIP code.”

“People have choices about where they are going to live, particularly with the rise of remote work,” said Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “To retain our middle- and working-class residents we must do more to make the city affordable and livable. This coalition’s focus on increasing access to affordable childcare is a critical component of keeping New York inclusive and strong.”

"Strengthening our childcare sector is critically important to our local economy. The small business owners and workers fueling our economic recovery need to have access to quality, affordable and convenient childcare,” said Thomas J. Grech, President & Chief Executive Officer, Queens Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud REBNY and DC37 for taking the lead on this issue, and are proud to join this diverse coalition to improve childcare in Queens and throughout New York City."

“Working mothers have faced institutional inequities for too long, and it’s clear that the lack of reliable childcare strains not only families, but New York City as a whole,” said Julie Samuels, President & CEO, Tech:NYC. “As a working mother, I understand the urgent need for reliable structural support for families, and Tech:NYC is proud to support the Better Child Care NYC Coalition to help New York’s working parents reach their full potential.”

"Safe and accessible child care is a necessity for parents and caregivers across New York City and a particularly valuable resource in live-work-play-learn neighborhoods, such as Union Square," said Julie Stein, Executive Director, Union Square Partnership. "Our organization wholeheartedly supports the Better Child Care NYC coalition in its mission to improve child care options for New Yorkers, and we look forward to working with its members to improve access and prioritize child care solutions for residents, workers and students within our Union Square district."

"Child care should be a cornerstone of every neighborhood in New York City," said Charles Bonello, Co-founder and CEO of Vivvi. "When we make high quality care accessible to working parents, we're not just setting up our kids for success; we're also fueling the economic engine of our city."

# # # 

Topics Covered

  • Quality of Life
  • Retail
  • Labor