Report: Just 14% of Low-Income Infants & Toddlers Receive Early Ed

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2015
Contact: Emma Woods,, 646-200-5303

Report on NYC Early Childhood System Reveals Crisis of Unmet Need for Low-Income Infants and Toddlers

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Serves Only 14% of Income Eligible Infants and Toddlers

High-Quality Programs Beginning at Infancy Key to Preparing Children for Kindergarten, Closing the Achievement Gap


New York, NY – An analysis of early childhood education programs in New York City reveals immense unmet need among low-income infants and toddlers. Only 14% of income eligible infants and toddlers are being served by the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).

Based on the findings, the Campaign for Children – a coalition of more than 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations – called for the expansion of the early childhood education system to reach all eligible families of children ages 0-3. Families qualify for subsidized child care in New York City if their total household income is under 200% of poverty (less than $48,500 a year for a family of four). Read the full report HERE.

“This analysis confirms that the City’s early childhood system does not have sufficient capacity to serve thousands of income-eligible young children, particularly infants, toddlers and 3-year-olds. We must build on the successful implementation of pre-K by ensuring young children have access to high-quality programs as early as possible, so parents can work knowing that their children are safe and benefitting from programs that enhance their social, emotional, developmental and academic growth,” said Stephanie Gendell, Associate Executive Director for Policy and Government Relations at Citizens’ Committee for Children and a member of the Campaign for Children.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Only 22,705 of the 157,052 income eligible infants and toddlers (up to age three) in New York City are served by the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) early education programs, meaning only 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are served (leaving nearly 86% of children without subsidized early education).
  • In Queens, only 9% of eligible infants and toddlers can be served; in Staten Island, only 6%. Manhattan and the Bronx can only serve about 20% of eligible infants and toddlers.
  • There is a gap in access to full-day, full-year programs for children ages three and four. Only 40% of eligible low-income pre-school age students are enrolled in a full 8-10 hours a day of early education through ACS programs. Pre-K programs for four-year-olds administered by DOE offer 6 hours and 20 minutes of care per day during the school year. ACS programs provide care for 8-10 hours a day as well as in summer months, which better meets the needs of many working families.

The benefits of early childhood education programs are well known. High-quality programs have been shown to have significant impacts on cognitive and social-emotional development and to help close the achievement gap, particularly for low-income children. Furthermore, early childhood education programs enable parents to participate in the workforce, which is invaluable to the economic stability of low-income families whose children participate in subsidized programs.

Crystal Diaz’s son Jayden Santos-Diaz, 4, has attended the Mabel Barrett Fitzgerald Daycare center since he was 2 years old.  “Attending an early childhood program helped my son’s social development, which many young children struggle with,” said Diaz. “He’s learned skills from an early age that he will need entering kindergarten.”

“There is such a high demand for us to provide services for toddlers, but we just don’t have the resources to accommodate everyone,” said Susan Nieves, Executive Director of Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. “Parents tell us every day how grateful they are to have their child enrolled at our center.”

“Early Childhood programs mean so much to my family because it allows my son to thrive while I am at work trying to provide for him,” said Karen Reyes, whose 2 year old son Ronaldo attends early childhood programs at East Side House Settlement in the Bronx. “Every child, no matter how young, deserves that opportunity.”

ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN: The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses NY, Good Shepherd Services, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined.


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