The Brooklyn Coalition of Early Childhood Programs is a new group of 50+ Brooklyn daycares and preschools who have come together to advocate, support each other, and create policies that respond to the ongoing effects of the COVID – 19 crisis while aiming to build a better, more equitable childcare system for Brooklyn in the long-term. The coalition calls on the Mayor for re-opening guidance, timeline and a childcare bailout.

Additionally there is a petition to sign for parents and caregivers called “We need childcare funding for families, NOW”. According to the organizers, the stimulus package does not adequately address the childcare needs of the people and families serving families during the Coronavirus pandemic. They are calling for a federal investment of $100 billion to address the immediate need and the long term impacts on families and care workers.

From the Brooklyn Coalition of Early Childhood Programs: “Collectively, we represent over 3,000 children, whose development hinges on the return to the safe, stimulating, social world they miss, and their families, all of whom need reliable childcare in order to return to work and help restart New York’s economy. Despite NYC entering Phase 1 & 2, and the imminent reopening of day camps (which indicates that it is now safe for children to gather in small groups), Mayor De Blasio and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have yet to issue meaningful guidance about reopening childcare in NYC. In fact, the DOHMH, which ordered our shutdown on April 6, was absolutely silent until June 3, and still refuses to issue any guidance around how childcare in New York City will reopen. Even some of our partners and advocates inside the DOHMH admit that this is unacceptable. Home-based, OCFS-regulated programs have been allowed to remain open throughout the spring without pandemic-specific guidance/resources, and day camps are set to open on June 29, also with no guidance.

This sends a dangerous mixed message: if it is safe for children to gather in small groups, why can’t we reopen? If it is not yet safe, what makes camp and home-based daycare different? What resources can all programs expect to appropriately operate in these unprecedented times? In order to prepare for the reopening we know NYC families need, we’ve leveraged our collective expertise in developmentally appropriate practice, and applied it to the most stringent guidelines released by the CDC and other states and cities to create a comprehensive reopening plan for New York City childcare. Our plan meets CDC and NYS standards while outlining how we will protect the wellbeing of children, teachers and families while safeguarding the play, social interaction, and emotional learning so essential to early childhood development.

We submitted our proposal to the DOHMH for approval or guidance in May, but as of June 15 have received no meaningful feedback. We are advocating for a childcare bailout, and for immediate reopening guidance from the City, which has so far shown no indication that it prioritizes the survival of programs that are so essential to young children and their families, We share the belief that high quality early education should be available for all – we stand ready to facilitate the safe and successful return of childcare that New York City needs now.

WE DESERVE ANSWERS, AND YOU DO TOO! TOGETHER, WE MUST ENSURE THAT HIGH QUALITY CHILD CARE REMAINS AVAILABLE FOR NEW YORK’S CHILDREN WHEN FAMILIES RETURN TO WORK. MAYOR DE BLASIO and OXIRIS BARBOT WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW!”