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CARES Act Petition
To: Sheila Poole, Commissioner, Office of Children and Family Services

$163 million received by New York State was earmarked for relief of hardships experienced by child care facilities across the state. New York created a three-step program - Cares I, Cares II and Cares III, for distribution of the funds.

The administration of CARES I and CARES II phases was so flawed that many providers have concluded any benefits were significantly outweighed by the cost in terms of staff time spent, interest paid on loans and the stress of uncertainty of whether an application would be approved. For the providers who did complete the application for CARES 2 and did receive an award, they were met with changing requirements after they had often already spent thousands of their own dollars, making it difficult to get their money reimbursed.

Slow distribution of these funds to childcare providers impacts the working families and parents who rely on child care providers and trust their children to them every day. They are dependent on them to continue to operate and offer a high quality, safe and healthy program for children, so they can return to work. New York’s economy cannot function without working parents, who cannot function without child care. It is crucial that these funds are disbursed to providers at a rate reflective of the crisis the sector and working families are in.

We the undersigned child care providers, parents, and allies are petitioning you to change the process for distribution of funds for the CARES III phase to:

- Simplify the application process.

- Quicker approval turnaround.

- No receipts required – the provider keeps the receipts on file.

- Up front allocation of money.

- Broad range of allowable uses including salaries.

- Maintain and continue rolling applications now and in the future.

- Initiate planning for any future allocations from the Federal Government.

We have been told that CARES III is intended to operate similarly to CARES I and CARES II. We encourage you to implement CARES in a manner that is far more streamlined, simple, reliable and useful for all those who so desperately need support right now.

Pennsylvania implemented distribution of Cares Act funds in a streamlined and efficient manner based on a formula determined by size and modality. Applications for grants were short and featured a simple attestation that the provider would use the funds for a broad range of allowable expenses. The Pennsylvania funds were distributed up front, with no receipts required. Pennsylvania Cares III funds will also be allocated up front with a broad range of allowable uses that includes salaries.

New York must do better with CARES III and any future federal relief funds for childcare that are to come. We strongly urge you to consider our concerns as we move towards CARES III fund distribution and in planning for use of future funds.
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