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LIers to get their say about child care costs via survey

Child care is considered "affordable" if it costs

Child care is considered "affordable" if it costs no more than 10 percent of a family's income, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Two local groups are partnering to survey Long Island parents about their child care expenses.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's goal of addressing the region's need for more affordable child care spurred a committee of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to partner with a Long Island labor group to conduct the survey.

The Child Care Needs Assessment survey, shared Thursday by the Long Island Federation of Labor, an umbrella group of unions, will gather information from families regarding the availability and affordability of child care. 

"We've emailed the survey to all our staff, forwarded it to all our affiliates," John Durso, president of the labor federation said.

"It's so important for us to collect as many responses as possible and that's what we're trying to do, that's why we're strongly encouraging all families to take just a few minutes to fill it out."  He said the survey takes about 10 minutes.

It's no secret to Long Islanders that child care here is expensive, Durso said. "But there's a misconception that all Long Islanders are well-off," he said.

"Some people don't understand that there are gaps here and many families still need help being able to access and afford quality child care. This survey is just another tool in our tool box to make our voices heard and try to make the lives of our citizens better." 

Child care is considered "affordable" if it costs no more than 10 percent of a family's income, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The average cost of sending two children to day care outpaces median annual rent costs in all 50 states, and is higher than annual median mortgage costs in 35 states, according to a 2018 Child Care Aware report. New York State had the least affordable child care as a percentage of income, the report found.

In Nassau, the 2017 median household income was $105,744; in Suffolk it was $92,838, according to Census figures. Infant care for one child would take up 22.1% of a median family’s income in New York, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. 

In 2018, parents across the country spent an average $1,500 a month or $18,000 a year for one child's care, according to a survey by Care.com, an online platform that helps caregivers connect with families seeking care.

Results of the 29-question survey, which includes questions such as, "Approximately how many hours a week do you work?, "How many children do you have?" and "How much do you spend each month on child care costs for all your children?," will be reviewed by the Regional Economic Development Council.

The groups will share the results with Cuomo. 

Durso said the survey will be available online for interested families for the foreseeable future. Click to view the survey

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