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The True Cost of Child Care in Erie County

Investing in quality child care is a critical public investment into a better functioning, more equitable, democratic economy and society. This is a summary of findings of a study of the costs of child care in Erie County, NY, undertaken in Fall 2021 by a Cornell research team from the ILR School in Buffalo. An Action Research project, it was undertaken in collaboration with the Live Well Erie Emergency Child Care Task Force, child care providers and advocates, and Erie County and New York State public officials.

The goals of the project are to determine the actual cost of quality child care by modality in Erie County; compare those costs to OCFS “market rate” price of care and with NYS/Erie County DSS subsidy rates; compare current costs with true costs if all child care workers earned a thriving wage and the system was equitable, economically sustainable, and universally accessible; and to provide the data and analysis to County and State officials for consideration in public policy and budget negotiations in 2022.

Details of the findings are in documents below: