New York, NY – Fifteen New York City Councilmembers – including members of the Council’s Jewish Caucus and others representing Jewish communities – sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs to protest the unfair treatment of Orthodox children and families in the City’s plan to eliminate child care services, and demand a restoration of this essential funding.
The letter was organized by Councilmember Brad Lander, who represents part of Borough Park, chairs the Jewish Caucus. Other signers of the letter include Lew Fidler, Leticia James, Oliver Koppell, Margaret Chin, Karen Koslowitz, Dan Halloran, Gale Brewer, Sara Gonzalez, David Weprin, Matheiu Eugene, and Jumaane Williams.
While the Orthodox Jewish population comprises less than 4% of all New Yorkers, they represent 15% of the child care cuts proposed by the Bloomberg Administration.
When last year’s elimination of Priority 7 is factored in, Orthodox families account for a staggering 26% of the child care cuts made or proposed by the Bloomberg Administration in the past year. proposed by the Bloomberg Administration in the past year. In addition, Deputy Mayor Gibbs’ proposal to offer families who are slated to lost their child care voucher an slot in one of the City’s Out-of-School Time (OST) programs is particularly poorly suited for Orthodox communities, as there are insufficient OST providers in Jewish neighborhoods to provide even a fraction of the necessary services.
“The Borough Park community has the highest unmet need for subsidized child care services of any neighborhood in the city (over 10,000 families), yet is slated for the largest cut in services (23%). This is unfair, and unacceptable,” Councilmember Brad Lander said.
“The administration is intentionally disregarding the child care needs of the Jewish community,” said Councilman David Greenfield. “Thousands of Jewish children will be left without any child care options under Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs’ child care plan. Despite our repeated protests, sadly, not a single person in this administration has stepped forward with an alternative that would protect the single person in this administration has stepped forward with an alternative that would protect the Jewish community from being singled out by these devastating cuts.”
“Severe hardships would ensue to so many vulnerable families as a result of these cuts,” said Councilmember Michael Nelson, chair of the Council’s Jewish Caucus. “These hardships are hardly worth any potential gain.”
“The Mayor’s plan to further reduce childcare options in the city will disproportionately impact the Councilmember Steve Levin. “ OST is not childcare and it is simply not an option for Orthodox families. I call on Mayor Bloomberg to fully restore childcare funding and to provide all New York City children with culturally-appropriate, affordable, quality daycare.”
Despite repeated requests on the part of the Councilmembers, the Bloomberg Administration has provided no plan to address the obvious inequity for Orthodox families. In today’s letter, the Councilmembers called on the Bloomberg Administration to fully restore the child care funding proposed for elimination.