Thousands rally against child care cuts
SELENA HILL Special to the AmNews | 5/25/2011, 5 p.m.
On May 11, thousands of parents, day care workers, union members and elected officials rallied at City Hall to protest the proposed cuts to child care in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's executive budget.
"New York City's child care programs are part of the solution-affordable professional child care enables women to work. Without it, many would not have that option," noted Lee Saunders, secretary-treasurer of the Association of State, County and Municipal Employees. "We need politicians to make choices we can be proud of and not take the path of least resistance, balancing the budget on the backs of children and women."
"Child care is an essential job support for low-income families," added Council 1707 Executive Director Raglan George. "As goes child care, so goes the neighborhood. We are beginning to see some economic recovery-it is not the time to limit essential services."
Earlier this month, the mayor released the city budget for fiscal year 2012, which allocates $40 million toward child care services. However, protesters claim that the $40 million serves only to offset $91 million in cuts to Administration Child Services (ACS) that will negatively impact hundreds of families around the city. In all, the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care estimates that 7,000 children from low-income working families will not have access to subsidized day care next year. This will force low-income mothers to become stay-at-home moms, and eventually push low-income families to become dependent on welfare.
"The mayor's budget doesn't save child care-it will replace the services parents and children rely on with a cheaper, inferior system," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who was present at the rally, in a statement. "If we want our children to succeed in high school then we need to begin supporting them when they are 3 or 4 years old with quality child care."
Calling the mayor's proposed cuts an absurdity, Councilman Charles Barron argued, "We have a $3.1 billion surplus in our budget. We have a $2 million rainy day budget and he's cutting...child care services to predominantly Black and Latino income communities."
"Child care is about the future of our city," said New York AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes. "We need to make choices to build the city we want to live in."