With the announcement today of a city initiative to provide free, full-day, early child care for all three-year old children starting this fall in the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, Mayor de Blasio will help thousands of low-income families who cannot afford child care but deserve access to the same high-quality academic and social development programs available to more affluent New Yorkers.
Studies have shown that government spending on high-quality early child care helps low-income families by boosting women’s employment and earnings. It also helps our most vulnerable children build social and behavioral skills that will help them succeed in school and beyond. Research also shows that some of the most significant education gaps occur before age five, particularly in terms of the number of words young children have in their vocabulary. Ensuring that all three year olds can attend high quality preschool will prevent many from falling behind in early literacy activities.
A new report by New America and Care put the average cost of child care in the United States at $16,514 annually. For many working poor families in our city the cost of child care well exceeds their annual income. The Mayor’s “3-K for All” initiative effective removes one of the biggest obstacles preventing poor families from accessing – the cost – and helps ensure that early care and education programs reach more needy families.