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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announces $40.2 million for early childhood care in NY

Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News
Edna Colón, center, holds 3-year-old Royal Person, left, and her 1-year-old son, Jeycob.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an over $40 million federal grant to improve prekindergarten and child care services over the next three years. 

Hochul. speaking in front of kids' art hanging on the walls of Ibero-American Action League's early childhood center, said the grant is an opportunity to involve more behavioral specialists to help identify possible developmental issues kids might have before entering kindergarten.

"Whether it's a speech issue, whether it's a mental health issue, whatever is affecting that child, if we deal with it early, they have a much higher chance of success in life," she said.

Credit Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul addresses children in the crowd at a news conference at Ibero-American Action League on Friday.

Ibero employee Edna Colón sends her 1-year-old to the organization's child care center, which is in the same building. She said having child care in the same building is a significant improvement from about 10 years ago when her older child needed the same care.

"I used to get a lot of food stamps and rent assistance," she said. "Now I don’t need the rent assistance because I have my own job and I can pay for myself."

She added that she's looking forward to the opportunity that the grant will provide for families like hers.

While child care is not exclusively a women's issue, Hochul said that women and single mothers are still often enduring the most when it comes to child care issues.

"I don’t want to hear any more tech companies or traditionally male-dominated fields say, 'Well, we're having trouble getting women,' because my next response is 'Show me your child care center,' " she said.

Agencies who wish to receive funding will need to apply through the state.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.