We laud The News editorial acknowledging affordable child care as an essential workforce support. Access to quality child care reduces employee absenteeism, increases retention and productivity, generates economic activity, supports parental physical and fiscal health, and encourages child development during critical early years. Quality programs are an integral investment in our future. Buffalo’s growth needs workers who have safe and healthy places for their children to grow and learn while they work.
Child care is expensive! High cost, plus lack of sufficient subsidies to support low-income workers, is driving a child care crisis that is guaranteed to stall our economic growth. Low-income mothers with access to child care subsidies are more likely to be employed, work more and see increased earnings.
In 2016, the Western New York Women’s Foundation, in partnership with Sen. Tim Kennedy and the Child Care Resource Network, State Senate funding to start the Facilitated Enrollment Child Care Subsidy Program in Erie County, which assists working families making at or below 275 percent of the federal poverty level. Erie County receives considerably less funding for this program than comparable counties. It’s a start but not enough to serve working families who are falling through the cracks. Our work continues.
Child care is not a nicety for working parents. It is a necessity and must become a part of our workplace culture. Without affordable, accessible, quality child care, we cannot tap into the full breadth of talent in our community to advance our region’s economic growth.
WNY Women’s Foundation