Testimony: Promise NYC and Access to Child Care

Submitted to the New York City Council Committee on Women & Gender Equity and Committee on Immigration Re: Joint Oversight Hearing, Promise NYC and Access to Child Care for Immigrants
June 16, 2023

The Education Trust–New York is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to educational equity. We work to attain educational justice through research, policy, and advocacy that results in all students – especially those who are from low-income backgrounds or students of color – achieving at high levels from early childhood through college completion. Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony for this hearing.

We strongly urge the City to commit $20 million in FY24 to fully fund Promise NYC. Since Promise NYC began at the start of 2023, 600 children have enrolled in the program, providing early education to young children and giving parents time to seek and maintain employment opportunities. With hundreds of children on the wait lists, it is clear that Promise NYC is a lifeline for families, most of whom would otherwise be ineligible for child care assistance and extended day programs. With multi-generational benefits, Promise NYC is one of the most effective ways to continue New York City’s legacy as a diverse, multi-cultural city of opportunity for all.

New York City has welcomed more than 70,000 asylum seekers over the past year, with more than 45,000 currently residing in the city. Yet with approximately 40% of the immigrant children who have recently arrived age 5 and under, Promise NYC has only begun to scratch the surface on meeting the needs of the thousands of children and their families who are eligible to participate. Every child, regardless of immigration status, deserves the opportunity to access early care and learning opportunities that can support healthy growth and development in the formative early years and nurture a child’s learning potential throughout childhood.

Asylum seekers face ongoing systemic challenges to success, wellbeing, and stability, and undocumented residents are more likely to live in poverty than naturalized citizens. Promise NYC provides a unique opportunity to foster economic security and self-sufficiency for some of the most vulnerable families in New York City. As a critical conduit to economic mobility and success, child care must be accessible and affordable for all families.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony. Please feel free to contact Lara Kyriakou, Associate Director of Early Childhood Advocacy and Policy at the Education Trust—NY, at [email protected] with any questions regarding this testimony. Thank you.