Families in New York struggled to balance work and child care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many parents having their employment affected because of it, a survey to be released Thursday by the anti-poverty advocacy group Robin Hood found.
State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are negotiating a state budget that could boost funding for child care providers by billions of dollars, creating more access to services for a wider range of families than is currently available.
The survey from Robin Hood and Columbia University found lower income people were more likely to be affected by child care needs, especially during the pandemic.
Many child care service providers closed, and children were required to attend school on either hybrid schedules or go remote -- keeping them at home, and making learning uneven at best for many students.
"Our leaders have acknowledged that there is a massive unmet need for quality, affordable, and accessible child care in New York State and committed to take action — but now the devil is in the details," said Jason Cone, the group's policy director. "This data shows just how the child care crisis has impacted families during the pandemic and should serve as a clarion call for the governor to embrace the Senate and Assembly’s transformative child care proposals."
The survey found one in four parents reported they had turned down, changed their job or took a leave because of child care issues. More than one in five people could not look for a job because of child care needs.
Hours were reduced as well: 18% reported going from full time to part time, while 7% were let go from their job entirely.
Lower-income families were more likely to be affected. For families living 200% below the poverty line, half reported at least one of those work-related issues with child care.
“Parents in more than two in five New York City families have been forced to step back from their careers because of the lack of child care — including half of our lowest-income neighbors," Cone said. "It’s now abundantly clear that following the Legislature’s lead and investing in a stronger child care system would help struggling New York families, reduce child care poverty, and jumpstart our economy.”