Chancellor Malatras Launches Comprehensive Initiative to Expand High-Quality Child Care at SUNY Campus Centers and Eliminate Child Care Deserts Across SUNY

August 2, 2021

Creates a SUNY Child Care Paid Internship Program to Allow Students to Get Valuable Early Childhood Hands-On Experience, While Helping Fill a Growing Need for Child Care Workers

SUNY System Administration to Provide Technical Assistance to Help Campuses Secure Millions in Federal Funding to Start Up New Child Care Centers in SUNY Child Care Deserts

SUNY to Improve Quality of All SUNY Child Care Centers by Helping Centers Receive or Maintain Accreditation from National Quality Organizations

Launches Awareness Campaign to Connect Current SUNY Child Care Center Employees to Existing Scholarship Programs at SUNY

Photos From Jamestown Community College Available Here


Jamestown, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced the launch of a comprehensive initiative to expand high-quality child care at SUNY campus child care centers and eliminate child care deserts across SUNY. The four-prong initiative includes:

  • The creation of a SUNY-wide paid internship program for students in early childhood degree programs. Not only will this provide invaluable hands-on experience to students, it will also help fill a great need in attracting individuals to help support staff at SUNY campus child care facilities. It’s also a matter of economic justice to students who cannot afford to participate in unpaid internships. Modeled off of successful programs, like Ohio University’s Childhood Development Center internship program, SUNY will spend $500,000 on the new scholarship program for approximately 100 paid interns working based on an average of 20 hours a week and receiving the area minimum wage. The Chancellor’s Office will soon launch a system-wide application to apply for SUNY child care centers.
  • SUNY System Administration providing technical assistance—led by SUNY’s Coordinator of Child Care and Related Services Maureen Maillard—to help campuses secure millions in federal funding to start up new child care centers in SUNY child care deserts or expand and improve existing centers. Too often, centers lack the capacity and technical expertise to apply for grants and funding, therefore leaving funding on the table. SUNY System will help take on this responsibility. The Office of Children and Family Services has up to $100 million in grants available to increase and expand licensed child care capacity in these child care deserts. The federal government has also made $1.1 billion available to existing facilities to support child care programs and help replenish losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Funding of $125,000 from SUNY to improve the quality of those campus child care centers that have not yet received accreditation from a national quality organization, and to allow improvements at other campus child care centers in order to maintain its licensure. To date, 70 percent of SUNY campus child care centers have achieved accreditation with the National Association for the Education of Young Children or participate in QUALITYstarsNY, which require that the centers maintain stringent standards. Parents do not just want access to child care, they want access to high-quality child care.
  • SUNY launching an awareness campaign to help connect current SUNY campus child care center employees to existing scholarship programs in order to retain employees. Programs include the Early Education Workforce Scholarship, among others. Too often, existing child care staff leave many benefits on the table because they are unaware of programs.

"Essential to our SUNY for All campaign is breaking down barriers to accessing higher education. The lack of child care is a major barrier for our student parents who must choose child care over classes, or faculty who want to teach but face constraints because of the lack of child care," said Chancellor Malatras. "Investing in child care is not only good for the individual student, it makes economic sense. We have tens of thousands of open jobs in New York State and we need to close skill gaps to get individuals into the workforce. They shouldn’t have to choose between child care and economic opportunity. Our program will go a long way of leveraging federal dollars to meet the child care needs of those who need it. As important, our program will present opportunities for students to get paid intern experience critical to their success. Too often, many of our students cannot fully maximize their experience because they cannot afford to take an unpaid internship. Our program is a win-win for expanding child care and educational opportunities for every student."

"We can't have a full economic recovery without eliminating child care deserts and expanding quality, affordable child care services across our state," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the New York State Child Care Availability Task Force. "Today’s SUNY announcement is yet another step we are taking in New York State to knock down barriers to success for student parents so that they can continue to pursue degrees and careers that will better support their families."

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "I commend SUNY for its innovative approach to making more child care available to families who need it. To solve the problem of having enough quality, affordable child care for every working family in New York State, we all need to work together, including government, private businesses, higher education, and other stakeholders."

During the 2020-2021 academic year, SUNY served 1,200 student parents with more than 4,000 child care spots amongst the 46 SUNY campuses that have a child care center onsite. One additional campus provides referral services. The centers also serve faculty, staff, and state employees, as well as the neighboring community—each utilizing about a third of child care spots across SUNY.

The initiative will help bolster child care options where supply is scarce, particularly in more rural areas. At SUNY, there are 18 campuses that do not have child care centers on site, including Jamestown Community College where today’s announcement was made. The nearest option is 45 minutes away at SUNY Fredonia, which students have utilized.

Jamestown Community College President Daniel DeMarte said, "This initiative will provide relief not just for our students, but also for the employers in our region as we help parents prepare for a return to work with new or refreshed skills. We greatly appreciate the Chancellor making this a priority, which will help parents throughout New York State with this upcoming transition."

Beth Starks, Director of the North County Extension Center & Director of the Career Advantage program at Jamestown Community College said, "I will always believe every challenge is an opportunity, and we have the opportunity right now to do the right thing for our current workforce and for our state's youngest citizens—our future. Our SUNY Chancellor has recognized that in order to rebuild our economy, it is essential that we include a commitment to something as critical as child care. I thank the SUNY Chancellor for his support, as well as the Governor, our Senator, and Assembly on behalf of my colleagues and the children and families across New York State. It is imperative that all child care funding is released fully and immediately, because families and child care providers cannot wait any longer for help."

Maureen Maillard, SUNY’s coordinator of child care and related services, said, "Today’s announcement is an exciting one for our campuses, child care centers, and most importantly, our student parents who often have to worry about the many different variables considered when seeking child care, such as location, quality, cost, and availability. With this funding, we can continue providing the highest quality of care while ensuring future caregivers receive the best possible training and experiential learning. Student parents can rest assured knowing their children are in safe hands, allowing them to focus on their studies and graduate. Many thanks to Chancellor Malatras and all who have worked tirelessly to make these opportunities a possibly for everyone involved."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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