A common topic among Southern Tier parents in recent years has been the struggle to find child care for their young children as centers have faced closures and staffing issues. However, it looks like things might be taking a turn in that area.

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Governor Kathy Hochul announced that nearly $70 million in grant funding has been awarded to newly licensed, registered, or permitted childcare programs located throughout New York where there is insufficient child care, known as “child care deserts.”

For an area to be considered a child care desert, it must be an area where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot in a census tract, or there are no available child care slots in the tract.

In the Southern Tier, $4.1 million dollars in funding will be distributed to help new child care providers in areas that are underserved so that they can build up their programs, cover start-up costs as well as personnel costs, and support staff so that they can access COVID-19 vaccines.

The funds being provided to the Southern Tier are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative which was approved in the Fiscal Year 20-22 Budget.

Governor Hochul said, "Expanding child care options for working families is personal to me. As a young mom, I had to leave my job due to lack of access to affordable child care."

Hochul also said, "New York remains committed to eradicating child care deserts, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline."