New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will invest an additional $35 million in the QUALITYstarsNY program, delivering resources to improve early childhood care, including staff training. QUALITYstarsNY is New York’s quality rating and improvement system, based on 5 stars, 5 being the highest. Early childhood programs volunteer to participate and this investment will help programs improve so they can meet the minimum requirements to qualify. Programs receive individualized support from a designated quality improvement specialist and access to professional and career development opportunities, classroom materials and furnishings and a wide range of resources to build and sustain quality programming. QUALITYstarsNY is a statewide initiative led by the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at the City University of New York, under the guidance of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.
“Obtaining affordable, reliable child care should never be an obstacle for parents. In New York, we are working to ensure parents have access to first-rate child care in which their children can grow and learn in safe, nurturing environments,” Governor Cuomo said. “As New York reopens post-pandemic to its reimagined future, our historic child care investments will support working families with programs that are built back better than ever.”
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls said, “The pandemic shone a spotlight on inequities in the workplace and at home, where women bear the brunt of child care responsibilities. No one should have to sacrifice their career due to a lack of accessible or affordable childcare. Investments in these programs serve to improve child care, while providing parents with peace of mind that their children are being taught and taken care of in safe and loving spaces.”
Lt. Governor and Child Care Availability Task Force Co-Chair Kathy Hochul said, “We can’t have a full economic recovery without boosting affordable and quality child care services for New York families, particularly working women who have been disproportionately set back by the pandemic. Our expansion of the QUALITYstarsNY program will improve quality of service for an additional 1,000 new child care providers. As we write New York’s economic comeback story, this is yet another example of how we are making success more accessible for New Yorkers.”
The funding will be administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services in collaboration with the City University of New York and will enable the reach of this successful initiative to be extended, adding to the more than 900 child care providers already participating in the program, serving 55,000 children and 10,000 child care professionals.
OCFS Commissioner and Task Force Co-Chair Sheila J. Poole said, “Accessibility to child care is only one piece of the puzzle. This investment in the child care workforce and child care programs will improve the care that all children in New York State receive while giving parents a measurable system to determine quality, building a more equitable and enriching early childhood learning experience.”
City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “The research is clear: The first years of a child’s life help determine future outcomes. Providing the highest quality early childhood services is critical to laying the foundation for the lifelong success of our children. CUNY is proud to partner with the State on this critical collaborative and applauds Governor Cuomo’s investment in New York’s youngest learners.”
City University of New York Dean of the Office of Early Childhood Initiatives and the Executive Director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute Sherry Cleary said, “New York’s youngest children are in child care centers, family child care homes, schools serving young children with special needs, Pre-K, and Head Start in every region throughout the state. QUALITYstarsNY works throughout the state to provide comprehensive support to ensure that every child experiences the highest quality in every type of program they are in.
Patricia Persell, New York State Head Start Collaboration Director and Early Childhood Advisory Council said, “Head Start and Early Head Start sites are required by the federal Performance Standards to participate in their state’s QRIS, and this expansion of QUALITYstarsNY makes it possible to meet that requirement. This is an amazing step for New York’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs.”
Quality improvement specialists will rate child care providers using research-based standards and then will design, implement and fund a quality improvement plan. Specialists will consult with and support providers as they implement their plans and will again rate the providers and measure their performance improvement. The funding will support QUALITYstarsNY from now through September 30, 2024. See the QUALITYstarsNY website to learn more and find a program near you.