Both child care and after school services are restored at or above their FY 2012 levels, saving tens of thousands of slots and making services available to nearly 4,000 more children

CITY HALL – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Finance Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget. With funding that protects daycare, early childhood education and after school programs, this year’s budget makes New York City’s children and families a priority – and delivers results. The budget also avoids a reduction in teachers and the layoff of teacher aides, establishes funding for an anti-gun violence task force, supports important senior services, prevents firehouse closures and protects city services including public parks, pools and libraries.

Beyond simply securing child care slots for families who depend on them, the Council worked together with the Administration to develop an improved system that provides an invaluable quality early childhood education for infants and toddlers, giving them the best start possible and benefits that will last a lifetime.

“Working parents need to have their children protected and cared for while they are at work. Children need to receive a high quality educational experience at an early age. We are creating a program that responds to both of these needs,” said Speaker Quinn. “We are saying that child care can and must be part of a lifelong education that continues with pre-K, through Kindergarten and that ultimately leads to every child graduating high school ready for college. That is our ultimate goal, and it begins with academic day care, and it begins with what we have built here today.”

Numerous data proves that starting education as early as possible results in immensely significant benefits that follow a child for a lifetime. Children in early childhood programs are more likely to succeed academically, graduate from high school and become a productive part of the workforce.

“The future of New York City’s children is much brighter today. Citizens’ Committee for Children applauds the City Council and Speaker Quinn’s leadership in achieving a budget agreement that ensures New York City’s children will continue to benefit from child care and after-school programs that are essential to their school preparedness and success. This budget agreement is also a lifeline for the thousands of working parents who rely upon these vital services to keep their children safe and engaged in quality programming while they work. Notably, the City Council stood firm on the need to enhance the EarlyLearn rates and to prevent the profound loss of services, paying particular attention to pockets of high poverty; restorations for Out-of-School Time (OST) programs will similarly protect after-school capacity across the City as well,” said Jennifer March-Joly, Ph.D., Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children.

The Council worked to address a number of concerns raised around the Administration for Children’s Services’ (ACS) EarlyLearn program. As a result of extensive work, the Council and Administration have successfully established an improved city child care program that is responsive to New Yorkers’ needs and raises the standard of care for the youngest New Yorkers.

Instead of abandoning child care providers that have delivered services for years and have established relationships in the communities they serve, the city is going to provide the resources they need to meet new standards for early childhood education so they may remain in service. For those service providers who are unable to meet the new standards, the Council has added funding for job training and placement so that their workers can put their skills to use in other parts of the system.

Additionally, in the original EarlyLearn proposal, seats were assigned based on income data for each zip code, meaning that high-need areas that happen to be in the middle of a wealthy zip code would have been left out. As a result of the Council’s work, seats will be guaranteed to go where they are most needed and low and moderate income families that live in an economically integrated neighborhood will no longer be excluded.

“This budget saved jobs, maintained vital public services, and secured a strong financial footing for our city going forward,” said Councilman and Finance Chair, Domenic M. Recchia Jr. “Most importantly, we made the right investment in our future and put children and families at the forefront of this process. Now, tens of thousands of families throughout New York City can rest assured that the daycare, early childhood education, and afterschool programs they depend on, will be there for them. I want to thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for working with us to deliver a sound budget. I also want to thank our Finance Division, my colleagues in the City Council, and most importantly, New Yorkers. Members of the public from across all five boroughs told us what was important to them and what needed to be done. This was a team effort and, considering the challenges we faced from a struggling economy and reduced government aid, it was a success.”

“Today’s budget agreement is a hard-won victory for low-income New Yorkers. The Council made sure that many key services are preserved, including those for individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS and those in the City’s shelter system. More importantly, this agreement restores many of the child care and after-school services that our working families rely on,” said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare. “The Council has a long history of prioritizing these services and despite the challenges posed by the EarlyLearn RFP and the Mayor’s Executive Budget, the Council has once again stepped up to defend working families. I want to thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership and all my colleagues in the Council for recognizing the importance of these programs and for working diligently to ensure that the Administration made our children a top priority in this budget.”

Speaker Quinn and the City Council made protecting child care and after school programming a top priority during budget negotiations and successfully prevented the loss of tens of thousands of slots. These services are a lifeline for working New Yorkers, and as a result of the Council’s efforts many programs families depend on will continue to survive. Both daycare and after school programs are restored at or above their FY 2012 levels, meaning not one child will lose access to his or her care. In fact, nearly 4,000 more City children will be able to take advantage of these services. In the FY 2013 budget:

• More than 50,000 children from low-income households will receive quality child care, 7,000 more than was originally budgeted for in the FY2013 Executive Budget
• Nearly 30,000 out-of-school time (OST) slots for school-age children are restored
• More than 160,000 children will be able to participate in other after school programs saved or funded by the Council

After school programs provide importance care and supervision of children in the hours after school lets out. Academic help and recreational activities provide youth with a productive, beneficial outlet.

“The council stepped up for children and parents in a huge way by not only restoring, but increasing, the number of slots available in our after school programs. In total, the Council funding will provide 191,425 after school slots, an increase of 4,434 over the number available this year. I am overjoyed that the Council has prioritized kids,” said Council Member Lew Fidler, Chair of the Youth Services Committee.

“At the core of the budget negotiations, the education, well-being and safety of our youth has been the foremost priority for me and my colleagues. I’m very gratified to see that DC 37 and DOE were able to come together and work with the New York City Council on behalf of the 1.1 million students in our public schools. UFT’s Teacher’s Choice will allow teachers to buy much needed classroom supplies at a time when school budgets are strained and salaries have remained stagnant. Another victory for our schools is the network of school staff that help our principals keep our schools running. Saving our School Aides, SAPIS workers, family workers, parent coordinators and school guards from being laid-off, not only saved jobs but also kept school communities whole,” said Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the Education Committee. “In addition, thanks to the significant restorations to childcare and Out of School Time (OST) slots, families will be able to work, children will be taken care of in developmentally appropriate environments, and all New Yorkers will be able to sleep at night knowing that our youth have a place to go after school. In collectively advocating for the restoration of these services, I was continuously reminded of the importance of supporting our youth’s future and well-being!”

Continuing its commitment to the city’s classrooms, the Council reached an agreement with the Department of Education (DOE) to avoid a reduction in teachers and restored funding to help teachers buy necessary materials for their classrooms this fall. Additionally, working with DOE and DC37, the Council helped avoid the layoff of 250 school aides.

The Council also secured funding for the Gun Violence Task Force. Designed to help reduce violence in communities with high incidents of gun violence, the initiative will empower New Yorkers and create safe neighborhoods for residents and families. The program will result in impactful, lasting community improvements that will reduce neighborhood blight and will also promote anti-violence training through a targeted violence reduction program.

The Council also successfully prevented the closure of any fire companies and protected senior services. An increase in funding for senior case managers will ensure that caseloads for all case managers do not rise above 80.

Speaker Quinn stated, “Our budget isn’t just a plan for how to spend taxpayer dollars. It’s a statement about who we are as a city. And this budget says we are a city where every child will be given the opportunity to learn; a city that keeps its streets safe from violence; a city that believes every New Yorker has the right to a greater quality of life; a city that refuses to balance its books by hiking taxes; a city that believes core services cannot be sacrificed even in tough economic times.”

The City Council is expected to vote on the FY 2013 budget plan later this week.