We are VOICE/CSEA: a union made up of and working for family childcare providers from across New York State, organizing for power to take on challenges facing us and the children and families we serve.
We are negotiating with the State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) right now for a new contract to continue grants, expand professional development resources and more.
Child Care Report: Who's Minding the Kids?
Meeting Challenges and Creating Opportunities for Quality Child Care and Early Learning in Suffolk County - A Report to the Suffolk County Legislature by the Welfare to Work Commission.
New "Dear Provider" Letter from OCFS
If you have not yet received it in the mail, please click on the link below and read carefully. It addresses many issues including gun safety, new technology rules, multiple site rules and bringing yourself up to date with the regulations changes, in effect 5/1/2014 and many other topics.
Read Dear Provider Letter
CSEA Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Premium Rebate Program for Child Care Providers
CSEA is pleased to invite you to apply for the CSEA Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Premium Rebate Program for Child Care Providers.
You are eligible if you meet the following two conditions:
- You have enrolled in the NY State of Health Benefit Exchange and pay premiums out-of-pocket for health insurance, AND
- You live outside NYC and are a New York State Registered Family OR a Licensed Group Family OR an Enrolled Legally-Exempt child care provider.
The CSEA Health Care Rebate Program will provide a rebate up to $750 annually to reduce the cost of purchasing health coverage under the NY State of Health exchange.
Applications are being sent in the mail. You can apply by mail or online at www.voicecsea.org/rebate.
For more information, call the VOICE/CSEA Member Resource Center at (877) 483-CSEA (2732).
VOICE/CSEA President, Pam Wells Urges Congress to Stand Up for Children
Corporate CEOs, Wall Street executives, cabinet secretaries, and even famous actors frequently testify before Congress. But we think Congress needs to hear from middle-class people, like AFSCME members, about issues that affect the everyday lives of working families.
What would you tell Congress if you had the opportunity to testify? Pam Wells, president of Local 100A CSEA/VOICE, recently had that opportunity and made the most of it.
Wells is a family child care provider in Hudson Falls, N.Y., and one of 20,000 CSEA child care providers statewide. She urged Congress to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $807 million to maintain the number of children cared for with federal assistance. Additional funding is also needed to improve quality and prepare for new requirements included in draft regulations and legislation, and to improve provider payment rates.
Read the rest of the article.
New York State proposes drop to 69th percentile from Market Rate Survey
In February, New York state issued a regulation to implement new child care market rates in April 2014. The state-issued rules determine the ceiling rates that counties are allowed to pay for child care for registered and licensed group family day care providers, centers, and school-age programs.
The drop from the 75th percentile to the 69th percentile means that this year, for the first time since 2009, across all five OCFS Market Rate Survey regions, Family and Group Family child care providers will see no increase in rates - and in some cases, ceiling rates will go down.
New York has historically upheld the 75th percentile standard to help low-income parents access quality early learning and care and to support providers in affording the cost to provide quality programs. Bumping down to the 69th percentile will widen the gap between what providers charge parents to deliver quality child care and what county DSS agencies will pay providers to care for children receiving child care subsidies.
The 45-day public comment period for the new regulation ends on March 29th, 2014. Comments can be mailed to the Public Information Office, Office of Children and Family Services, 52 Washington Street, Albany, NY 12144. To meet the deadline, comments must be mailed no later than March 25, 2014.
View the regulation and proposed new market rates.
For more information, call the VOICE/CSEA Member Resource Center at (877) 483-CSEA (2732).
Suffolk County to reduce parent fees in its child care program
Suffolk's Department of Social Services is reducing the amount some 300 low-income parents have to pay out-of-pocket for child care coverage, because of an increase in state funding.
On Friday, December 20, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the county was cutting the fees parents contribute to the child care program by 10 percent, saving families an average of $583 a year.
Read Newsday Article
Watch News 12 Long Island Video
Watch Video Training on New Regulations on OCFS Website
OCFS posted a video training that reviews the newly adopted child care regulations on the OCFS website. Major changes to the adopted Family Child Care and Group Family Child Care regulations are discussed in detail. The regulations will go into effect on May 1, 2014. We encourage you to make time to watch the video as soon as you can to prepare for the implementation of the new regulations in the spring.
View the Video Conference
New Depreciation Rule for 2014 Will Save Providers Time and Money!
The IRS has recently announced a relaxing of depreciation rules that will benefit all family child care providers.
Starting in 2014, providers can avoid depreciating items costing $500 or less. Instead, they may deduct them in one year.
This change will result in higher business deductions in 2014. It will also make it easier to avoid the time consuming challenge of trying to understand the complex depreciation rules and calculating the correct depreciation amount.
Read the rest of the article on Tom Copeland's Blog
Cuomo vetoes bill improving notification of child care subsidy loss
ALBANY – Legislation to help give more timely notice to lower-income, working parents that child care subsidies they receive are being eliminated or reduced was vetoed Thursday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The veto surprised advocates who saw the bipartisan legislation, which sailed through both legislative houses this spring, as a modest request to give families more time to find alternatives if they are in jeopardy of losing benefits to hire child care help so they can work.
Read the rest of the Buffalo News article
Federal and State Draft Regulations Comments
In May, the US Department of Health and Human Services published new draft regulations for the Child Care Development Fund. The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) provides money to states for child care assistance - subsidies to working parents and program quality improvements. The new draft regulations will raise the standards that providers must meet in order to serve children receiving a child care subsidy. Raising standards (more training requirements, monitoring, background checks) costs money. No new money will be provided to states or providers to meet these higher standards.
The federal government is accepting comments until August 23, 2013.
OCFS issued updated licensing regulations for family and group family child care programs.
Suffolk County Raises Parent Eligibility
Suffolk County raises parent eligibility again after VOICE members and parents mobilized last year to get the local government to make child care a priority. Under the revised eligibility requirements, parents can make up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line, up from 125 percent announced in April.
Last spring, we joined County Executive Bellone to announce an increase in parent eligibility to 125% after the County budgeted 3.5 million for child care assistance. The last increase allowed the County to serve as many as 700 additional children. Since VOICE/CSEA leaders and members took action in July 2012, child care for working families is a priority again in Suffolk County.
Read Newsday Article
Watch News 12 Long Island Story
Watch News 12 Long Island Press Conference Clip
Gov. Dayton Signs Child Care Representation Act
Bill grants largest expansion of worker rights in a generation
(St. Paul, MN) – On Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Child Care Representation Act, which gives in-home child care providers who receive state subsidies the right to vote to join a union. For many child care providers, it has been an 8-year struggle to win the same union rights enjoyed by nurses and teachers. The new law also allows home health care workers to form a union, granting the largest expansion of collective bargaining rights in a generation.
Read Press Release
Thousands of Minnesota Child Care Providers Win Bargaining Rights
Approximately 11,000 family child care providers in Minnesota today won a historic legislative victory in their years-long campaign to win collective bargaining rights when the House voted to approve landmark legislation allowing them to have their own union.
The House action followed last week’s Senate vote for the bill. Gov. Mark Dayton vowed to sign the legislation if it reached his desk.
Visit AFSCME MN Council 5 website for more information: http://afscmemn.org/
CCPT member Danette Allrich-Osano of St. Paul celebrates the passage of historic legislation Monday that extends collective bargaining rights to family child care providers and personal care attendants. (Photo courtesy AFSCME Council 5)
Free Online Training from Tom Copeland
VOICE/CSEA now offers free on-line training covering the business side of child care: record keeping, contracts, marketing, legal, insurance, and money management. The training is designed for both experienced and new providers to help you be more successful as a business.
You can complete the training modules from your home at your convenience. Each completed module counts for 1.5 training hours. You will receive concrete practical information on how to reduce taxes, reduce conflicts with parents, increase enrollment, reduce risks and better manage money.
The training is written by the nation's leading expert on the business side of family child care, Tom Copeland.
For more information call our Child Care Resource Center 1-877-483-2732
To take these courses: https://www.csealearningcenter.org/help/login.cfm?CCA=1
Take Action: Share Your Story
Because child care funding comes from local, state and federal governments, our elected officials at all levels of government need to hear how important child care subsidies are to you and your family. We hope you can make time to meet in person with your local Assemblymember and state Senator before March 15, 2013. Your story may be shared with elected and appointed government officials in your County, Albany, and Washington DC.
Visit the Subsidy Stories page to read stories and invite parents and others to share their story.
Child Care In Crisis - A report from The Empire Justice Center
Many counties no longer have sufficient funding
to provide child care subsidies for families who earn less than
200% of poverty ($38,180 for a family of 3), as New York State
law allows. In order to cope, social services districts are lowering
eligibility and discontinuing the subsidies of low income working
families who would otherwise be eligible if sufficient funds were
Read the rest of the report
Important Market Rate Survey Information
OCFS conducts a Market Rate Survey every two years to collect data about private pay parent fees. This information is used to establish DSS ceiling market rates.
We urge you to make time to complete the Market Rate Survey that you received in the mail. Keep the survey handy so that if you are called and invited to participate, you can answer questions that pertain to you. Not every provider is called.
Watch OCFS Video on the Market Rate Survey
New Child Care Regulations
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services provides a range of resources to help parents with their child care needs, people who want to start or are currently running child care programs, and anyone with a concern about the health or safety of a child in a day care program.
New Family and Group Family child care regulations are now available for viewing. The new regulations will go into effect on May 1, 2014.
The Office of Children and Family Services’ child care regulations that take effect May 1, 2014 will be available in Spanish. They will be posted on our website as soon as they are available.
Read The Regs
New Fees for
The change in the law now requires that prospective day care providers and applicants for employment in day care programs be charged a $25 fee for any database checks conducted through the SCR.
Read the Memo
How will my licensor or registrar decide whether I can accommodate additional children?
Before enrolling additional children, your OCFS Regional Office must complete an inspection to determine that your program can accommodate additional children. OCFS issued the following guidance to licensors and registrars regarding inspections to approve additional enrollment.
"The method to determine whether a provider has adequate space to care for an increase in capacity or additional children under the age of two has not changed. Licensors and registrars will use the guidelines and methods already in place. As you know, caring for infants includes having adequate space for napping, diapering, dressing, eating and playing. Infants need a quiet, calm environment away from too much stimulation from older children. Toddlers need space to be active learners and develop motor competence and sensory motor intelligence. School age children need a safe and secure environment that fosters their growing independence. Licensors/registrars must assess the needs of the children in care with the environment in which they will receive that care. There is no standard set that would include a numerical formula such as square footage requirement. Licensors/registrars can ask questions of the provider such as: where will children nap? Play? Study? Eat? Napping mats or cots can be one tool a licensor/registrar may use in assessing a program's space, but it should not be the only consideration. Assess the program's activities against the overall space needed to perform those activities. Licensors/registrars may also recommend that a provider open up a space by removing a piece of furniture or assessing what space may already be available in the home to be utilized for child care."
Governor SIGNS A.8827A/S.3895B - OCFS Issues Guidance on Implementation
Governor Paterson signed A.8827A/S.3895B on Wednesday, June 16. Since the late 1990's, home-based child care providers across New York have been working to secure the changes to ratios that are included in this bill. We made securing ratio changes a top priority when we sat down to negotiate with OCFS. Finally, the Bill that enables OCFS to implement the changes we negotiated has been passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. Our e-mails, phone calls, the on-going work of our CSEA lobbyists in Albany and our focused persistence in the face of the challenges were the combined ingredients of our success.