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March 17, 2014

Day care costly, locals say

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand recently introduced new legislation to make child care more affordable for working parents — like one Otsego County woman who said she works two, sometimes three jobs to keep her daughter in day care.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Gillibrand described the struggles that thousands of working New York families face when trying to find affordable day care for their children. In 2012, she said, a two-parent family in New York spent an average of 16.5 percent of their annual income on care for their infant. For a single mother in New York, the cost of care could be greater than 57 percent of her income. New York was ranked the second least-affordable state for full-time infant day care in 2012, Gillibrand said.

The Oneonta mother, who did not want to give her name, said she was not surprised by this statistic. She said she works multiple jobs to afford the $195 per week to send her child to the YMCA’s Jumpstart program, adding that it is worth the money, but hits her pocket hard. 

“We do get day care subsidies,” she said, “I’m a full-time teacher, but it’s not enough, so I work more jobs to make ends meet. It definitely affects our food budget. It affects everything. We have to cut back.”

Gillibrand’s proposed legislation, which will be voted on this week, she said, would more than double the federal child care tax credit, allow parents to deduct child care as a business expense. The bill would also make improvements to the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which provides funding for monthly day care subsidies for low-income families, she said.

Melissa Jervis, a mother of two from Oneonta, said it’s “very difficult” to find day care in this area, especially one that a parent is comfortable with.

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