Testimony: The New York City Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity - Oversight Hearing on Free Child Care
Laura Gomez, Associate Director of Social Work in the Family Defense Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) testified before The New York City Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity Oversight Hearing on Free Child Care.
A lack of affordable, accessible, and flexible childcare for low-income parents in New York is a prominent driver of families into the family policing system. In 2019, nine percent of reports made against New York City families involved allegations of “lack of supervision.” When parents and caretakers do not have the resources to pay for needed childcare, are not able to access available childcare, or cannot find childcare for night and weekend times, they face the possibility not only of losing employment and the ability to provide for their children, but also face the very real possibility of experiencing a traumatic investigations by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), prosecution in family court, and even the removal of their children into the foster system.
BDS supports efforts to make childcare free for low-income New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Any program to expand childcare access must include outreach strategies to under-resourced communities to ensure they can access high-quality free childcare. It is critical that provision of childcare be available in the neighborhoods where low-income people live and work and be accessible to families who may be juggling many other bureaucratic systems to access housing, schooling, insurance, and other benefits.
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