New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning on asking lawmakers to approve a proposal that would give on-campus child care services for single parents enrolled at community colleges throughout the state.
If approved, the proposal would establish the Family Empowerment Community College Pilot program for up to 400 community college students, according to ABC-affiliate station WHAM13.
Child care can be a key challenge for single parents who want to earn a college degree, Cuomo said.
Child care services would also be available on college campuses, Cuomo’s office said. Community college students who are single parents and participate in the program would have access to tutoring services and assistance in applying to four-year institutions.
Cuomo’s proposal is part of the Women’s Justice Agenda recently announced by New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.
“We want to ensure that single parents are provided with the resources they need, including child care and career counseling, to pursue a college education and ensure professional success,” Hochul said in a statement.
Several community colleges currently have child care services on their campuses.
Cayuga’s child care program serves over 80 children, according to the Auburn Pub. The program is open to students, staff and members of the Cayuga community.
Although child care services are available at some community colleges, it is still a concern for single parents pursuing a college education. A recent Monroe Community College study determined that single parents who used their school’s child care services experienced an on-time graduation rate three times higher than single parents who didn’t use the service.
Co-founder and co-president of the legal advocacy organization A Better Balance, Dina Bakst, led the plan to establish a child care pilot program at New York’s community colleges.
“All too often, single mothers are unable to access higher education and job opportunities,” Bakst said. “By providing women with everything from on-campus child care to advisement and educational supports, the pilot program will help lift women out of poverty and set them up for economic success.”