Friday, November 21, 2008

Council Members James, de Blasio, Vann Host Day Care Fair on SAT. NOV. 22ND, 10AM-4PM at LIU


November 21, 2008

Council Member Letitia James, Council Member Bill de Blasio, and Council Member Al Vann invite you to a Day Care Fair for parents, families and the community on saturday, Nov. 22nd, from 10 am – 4 pm at Long Island University, Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Day Care Fair answers parent questions, and addresses low enrollment in centers.

Brooklyn child care centers have the lowest enrollment rates of all five boroughs. In this time of budget reductions we must make sure that valuable resources are not cut due to under use, especially when there is a clear need. The day care fair offers residents valuable information about affordable and subsidized day care centers in local neighborhoods.

The Brooklyn Day Care Fair came about several months ago, when on a Saturday, parents from a large child care center in the 35th Council District were informed that the center would be closed, effective the following week. Many parents learned about the closing when they arrived on Monday to drop off their children only to find the doors were closed, without explanation.

“This closing forced me to take a good hard look at the ACS subsidized child cares. Just this week ACS announced plans to reduce the capacity of its subsidized day care centers for low-income families by 18%. Our centers are under siege, and unless we work together to demonstrate the need for these centers by keeping the enrollment rates up, we keep giving the city the excuse to cut them,” said Council Member James.

Bedford-Stuyvesant, for example has the 3rd highest number of low-income children in Brooklyn. In the Bed-Stuy area, the low income rate is 63%, but the service-to-need ratio is 46% and only 81% of the slots are utilized: this means that many child care slots are vacant.

It seems the Administration of Children’s Services is in the process of implementing Project Full Enrollment, effective this Wednesday, to twenty-one of our most vulnerable Child Care Centers. Initially they reported the project would not be implemented until late Spring. Under PFE, Child Care Centers will only receive funding for the number of students enrolled. This will mean budget cuts for all day cares that are under-enrolled. Enrolling our children in day care centers is important because they improve the social and educational development of children; centers help to keep young people safe when parents are working, and many centers also provide after school care for older children.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the resource and referral agencies located near the entrance of the fair. These professionals can help you figure out specific questions such as newborn and infant care, special immigrant needs, as well as care during non-traditional hours,” said Council Member James.

The Administration for Children’s Services will also be on hand Saturday to help families walk through the eligibility process, and will provide information about ACS in several languages. The Brooklyn Day Care Fair allows attendees to take their time, ask questions, walk around the room and get to know day care options, as well as meet directors, teachers and parents present to help. It is also possible to set up appointments to visit day cares, and health care organizations will be on-site to offer information and assistance to families.

Councilmember Bill de Blasio, 39th District said: “Despite the large number of Brooklyn families in need of affordable childcare, many day care seats go unfilled. Connecting families directly with providers is key to informing parents about the day care options in their area, and ensuring that center vacancies get filled. I am glad that Council Members James, Vann and I were able to provide these much needed resources to the communities we serve.”

Council Member Albert Vann, 36th District said: “The parents in my district will be most heavily affected by the Administration’s cuts. The closing of any of these centers would be a blow to many economically vulnerable families. Cutting child care services during these tough times only puts working parents at greater risk of losing their jobs, and threatens their overall way of life.”

On-site enrollment for child care centers through the Administration for Children’s services will be available at the day care fair for parents who are prepared with proof of residence; proof of reason for needing child care; legal residency for non citizen children; proof of income; and/or family members.

What: Brooklyn Day Care Fair

Who: Council Members Bill de Blasio, Letitia James, and Albert Vann

When: Sat, Nov. 22nd, 10am - 2pm

Where: Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn (on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues) Subway Services: B, M, Q, R to DeKalb Av or the 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street

Contacts: Eva Ruiz - Council Member James / (212) 788-7081; Dottie Conway - Council Member Vann / (212) 788-7354; and Freya Riel - Council Member de Blasio / (212) 788-6969


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