State makes $70 million available to address child care deserts, which includes most of Orleans

Staff Reports Posted 1 February 2022 at 3:34 pm

Money will go to new child care programs

New York State is making $70 million in grant funding available to new child care programs in areas of the state without sufficient child care slots, known as child care deserts. This includes nearly all of Orleans County.

The funds, which are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative approved in the 2021 state budget, are being made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and will be administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.

The grants will help new child care providers in underserved areas build their program, cover start-up and personnel costs, recruit, train, and retain staff, and support staff in accessing Covid-19 vaccines. Grant applications will open in mid-April and run through May 19, 2022—with award announcements slated for June.

“Child care is one of the most critical engines to build back New York stronger from the pandemic, and it will provide countless opportunities for working parents,” Hochul said. “These federal funds will go a long way towards ensuring that no New Yorkers will be without child care. New York will always remain committed to eradicating the problems of child care deserts and will work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline.”

For this funding opportunity, child care deserts are defined as census tracts where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are no available child care slots in the tract.

Based on this criteria, more than 60 percent of New York State is considered a child care desert. All census tracts in New York State have been mapped depending on the number of available slots, and potential child care providers can review the child care desert map to discern appropriate locales.

Orleans County census tracts:

  • Barre-Albion and Gaines (not including village of Albion) – 4.32 children per slot (low desert level); 43.6 diversity index is medium; 39.11 families in poverty is high; RFA score = 79 points
  • Village of Albion – 3.84 children per slot (low); diversity index, 43.1, medium; 36.34 percent of families in poverty is high; RFA score = 79 points
  • Clarendon – 3.41 children per slot, considered low; 18.64 in poverty (medium), 14.2 in diversity index (low); RFA = 65
  • Murray – no slots and more than 49 children under 5 years old per slot, high; 17.6 diversity index, low; 33.24 percent family poverty (high); RFA = 81
  • Kendall-Carlton – 6.33 children per slot, low; diversity index 18.3, low; family poverty, 17.00 (medium); RFA = 65
  • Yates-Lyndonville – 7.00 children per slot, low; diversity index, 18.4 is low; 30.01 percent family poverty (high); RFA = 71
  • Ridgeway (not including village of Medina) – no slots, more than 49 under 5 years per slot, high; diversity index, 13.3 is low; family poverty, 25.27 (high); RFA = 81
  • Medina village, part in Ridgeway – 1.49 children per slot, not a desert; 34.1 diversity index is medium; 40.18 percent family poverty (high); RFA score = 49 points
  • Medina village, part in Shelby – 3.20 children per slot is low; diversity index is 37.4 (medium); 44.68 percent of families in poverty (high); RFA score = 79 points
  • Shelby without village – 4.08 children per slot (low); 27.9 diversity index, medium; 19.03 families in poverty (medium); RFA score 73 points

What level of desert census tract is the proposed program located in?

  • High (Desert with no child care and >49 children – 40 points
  • Medium (Desert w >10.0 per slot) – 35 points
  • Low (Desert w 3.01-9.99 children per slot, or desert w no cc and <50 children) – 30 points
  • Not a desert – 0 points

Is the proposed program in a REDC with high rate of Desert Census Tracts ? (Orleans County is in Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council where 66.2 percent of Census Tracts are child care deserts.)

  • High (>=68.0%) – 20 points
  • Medium (64.0 – 67.9% – 15 points
  • Low (<=63.9 CTs desert – 10 points

Area of High Diversity per Diversity Index

  • High (50.0-100 Diversity Index) – 20 points
  • Medium (25.0-49.9 Diversity Index) – 14 points
  • Low (<25 Diversity Index) – 6 points

Area with High Rate of Children living below 200% of Federal Poverty Level

  • High (25.0-100% of Families Under 200% Poverty) – 20 points
  • Medium (10-24.99% of Families Under 200% Poverty) – 14 points
  • Low (0-9.99% of Families Under 200% Poverty) – 6 points

All applicants must complete the OCFS online orientation before applying for the grant. Visit the OCFS website for more information (click here). Programs applying to become a NYC DOHMH Article 47 day care center must attend a pre-permit orientation before applying for a new permit.

Applicants needing assistance with starting child care programs can contact their county’s OCFS Regional Office or their local child care resource and referral agency (CCR&R), which can help with the licensing process. In Orleans County, the number for the CCR&R is (585) 589-5088.