ALBANY, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday, May 31 a $500 million investment to bolster New York’s childcare workforce through the Workforce Retention Grant Program.

Finding from the investment can be used to provide bonus payments to caregiving staff, as well as recruiting new staff and offering sign-on and referral bonuses for new employees. Applications for the Workforce Retention Grant Program are expected to open on Tuesday, July 13.

The investment also includes a four-year, almost $8 billion commitment to improving the childcare assistance program. This would allow the state to raise the income limit to the maximum allowed by federal law, making over 100,000 families eligible for the program. Families participating in the program will also have childcare costs limited to one percent of the total family income above the poverty line.

“As the first mother to serve as Governor of New York, I know first-hand the impact that the lack of affordable childcare can have on a family,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “Childcare is truly at the foundation of New York’s success, which is why it is central to our work to make the state more affordable and more livable. I’m proud of the investments in childcare we have made in this Budget to make care more accessible for families, grow our workforce, and make a down payment on the future of our state.”

The investment through the fiscal year 2024 budget also includes a $4.8 million investment in a new childcare pilot program. In the program, participating employers, the state, and employees will split the cost of childcare. Qualifying families must fall between 85 and 100 percent of the state median income. That pilot will operate in three separate regions throughout the state.

The investment will also expand the Empire State Child Credit to include children under the age of four. The expansion is expected to provide $179 million in total support to over half a million taxpayers and add nearly 630,000 children to the tax credit.

Other investments include:

  • Creation of a statewide electronic application program for childcare assistance,
  • Streamlining the application process for SNAP, HEAP, Medicaid, and WIC, and
  • Incentivizing building by favoring applications for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that incorporate childcare facilities into the construction.

“Since day one, Governor Hochul has understood that the only way childcare in New York can become more accessible, affordable, and equitable is through bold action,” Suzanne Miles-Gustave, the acting commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services, said in a statement. “These targeted investments and reforms will help grow and support our childcare workforce, encourage employers to work alongside families in securing childcare services, and provide historic funding for more New Yorkers to receive childcare assistance than ever before. OCFS is beyond proud to be overseeing and administering these transformational initiatives.”