Child care is often the biggest household bill after the rent or mortgage. With a year of full-time child care for a 4 year old averaging over $14,000 annually in Westchester, most families struggle to find care that is both affordable and meets the emotional and educational needs of their children. Most parents are left to their own devices to pay for child care, in contrast to college, which often provides financial assistance even to moderate income families.
While Westchester County has many amazing child care and after school options for parents, there are also programs that will not necessarily prepare young children for educational success. And then there are illegal child care businesses that do not comply with NY's regulatory requirements. Parents need more help in navigating our confusing "child care market".
NY is actually behind most states in the nation when it comes to the scope of early learning systems and services. Nearly 30 states have already implemented quality rating improvement systems, giving parents comprehensive and clear
indicators of quality to guide their child care and early learning choices. NY’s
version, QUALITYstarsNY, is not yet fully rolled out, held back by insufficient state funding.
Westchester women need affordable child care choices that will not only allow them to work, but provide reliable care and rich learning for their children. If you have something to say about child care, come to the first ever Westchester Women’s Summit on Saturday, March 2nd at the Yonkers Riverfront Library. Organized by the Westchester Women's Agenda, the Summit will bring together hundreds of women from across the county sharing their concerns, their needs and their aspirations - about jobs, health care, legal services, children's services and more. The free event runs from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm; registration is required.
For more information or to register, go to westwomenssummit.eventbrite.com.
For more info on child care, contact the Child Care Council of Westchester at (914) 761-3456 or visit our website www.ChildCareWestchester.org.
Kathy Halas, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Westchester and member of the Board, Westchester Women's Agenda.