Assemblyman Walczyk: New budget doesn’t provide enough to assist families out of poverty
Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 6:11 pm

North Country Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, R-Watertown, is blasting recent changes to the child care industry in the new state budget, saying tools designed to help troubled youths have been taken out of the hands of parents and Family Courts.

He also says the new provisions will increase costs for childcare providers.

Under budget bill A.2006-C, Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) provisions were altered to shift the cost of youth detention to the counties, according to a press release from Walczyk’s office.

Currently, families, schools, parole, and county family court work together to find treatment, therapy and remediation options for at risk youths and youths who have not yet reached the age of criminal responsibility.

“While youth detention options are never preferred, sometimes for the safety of the child, family, and public, it’s the best option,” says a press release from Walczyk’s office. “This budget bill eliminated the funding for detention for county family court and set up a new fund to help PINS in New York City.”

“The bill was passed with little time for public input and despite the issues and concerns I raised about cost shifts and the impact on Northern New York families, the pressure from political bosses in Albany resulted in the bill’s passage,” Walczyk said.

As New York works toward compliance with the Federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) requirements, the same budget bill made changes that impact licensed childcare providers, including additional training requirements and background checks.

“The price tag for the state to fully comply with federal guidelines is approximately $500 million,” said the press release. “The new state spending plan only provides $80 million for compliance, and while federal funding provides some offset, childcare providers will be left picking up the remainder of the tab for these unfunded mandates and the Office of Child and Family Services will likely be understaffed and overburdened in its important role of oversight.”

“The average New York family spends over $16,000 annually on childcare which has proven to be a huge struggle for working families in Northern New York. Statewide, a good childcare network has proven to elevate families out of poverty, ” said Walczyk.