New York to grant $70 million for new child care facilities, ease ‘child care deserts’

QUEENS (WABC) — Mansie Meikle is getting her associate’s degree with an eye on nursing. However, the single mother of three has no child care.

When Meikle goes to class in person, like for an English final, she parks the baby stroller right next to her desk.

“Anything she needed I could just, ‘hey, here you go,'” Meikle said.

Meikle, who also works as a home health aide, has waited two long years for child care in Queens. By now, her youngest is three and qualifies for Pre-K in the fall.

“There’s literally nothing within this area, and if there is, they’re like ‘we don’t have the space, we’re full,'” Meikle said.

During the pandemic, many child care facilities shut down because parents were working from home. Now, with companies calling employees back to the office, there is now a shortage of places to watch the children.

“The recovery of the city really depends on parents being able to go back to work. They need to have child care right away,” said Gregory Brender of Day Care Council of NY.

On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state will grant $70 million to 344 new facilities – hoping to ease what officials are calling ‘child care deserts.’

“We lost over 2,000 child care programs. They’re gone – and they had over 20,000 slots – they evaporated,” Hochul said.

“It’s always one door after the other that’s closing as far as childcare goes. It’s never an open door,” Meikle said.

The $70 million is for new child care. The state plans to release another $30 million for current facilities to expand their capacity.

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