For years, ACNJ has focused on improving the availability and quality of child care for New Jersey’s youngest and most vulnerable children. Child care is the first education experience most children have, but for too long, it has been underfunded and underinvested, especially for babies. ACNJ’s advocacy efforts have paid off! The Department of Human Services announced today an expansion of funding for child care by $38 million, with infant care as a priority. This is a great step forward in building a strong, high-quality child care system in our state. Read press release.
ACNJ would like to thank Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson for her leadership. Commissioner Johnson has listened to the concerns of child care stakeholders throughout the state and made it a top priority for the Department.
The new proposal will help move the state forward on three key issue areas that ACNJ has highlighted:
- Low overall subsidy rates for child care providers, especially for infants
The plan will increase reimbursement rates across the board, with higher increases for infant ($904/month) and toddler care ($761/month.)
- Few available child care seats for infants and toddlers
The plan will add $1.2 million for incentives to centers that create new infant care seats.
- Limited supports for providing high-quality care
The plan will add $6.8 million for grants to help providers improve quality and participate in the Grow NJ Kids quality rating system.
From the #NJVotes4Kids campaign to Strolling Thunder to our Right From the Start NJ campaign, ACNJ and our partners have advocated to make the lives of babies a priority for our lawmakers. Thanks to the efforts of our Think Babies coalition partners, the NJ Department of Human Services, and parents and families throughout the state, New Jersey is on the path to a sustainable child care system that fully supports babies and their families.
There is much work ahead for us, and this plan is only a partial solution. But we should take time to celebrate this huge win for New Jersey’s youngest children and their families.