Thursday, December 5, 2013

Interfaith group calls for child care funding boost

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

An interfaith group is calling on Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and County Legislators to restore $1.3 million in proposed cuts to day care subsidies. And it wants the county to put in an additional $600,000 on top of the $1.3 million. 

The $1.3 million cut is included in Brooks' 2014 budget proposal and comes on top of a $725,000 cut from the state, which provides the majority of funding for the subsidies. The County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget proposal today at 5:30 p.m. at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street. Many children's advocates, child care providers, and clergy are expected to attend the meeting to speak against the cuts. 

The Children's Interfaith Collaborative, a group of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim faith leaders, held a press conference this afternoon to press for the funding. The speakers, gathered in a room at the Jefferson Avenue Child Development Center in the lower level of Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, said that the subsidies help working parents afford quality day care for their children. And day care centers provide an educational foundation for the very young, which can help them do better in school, said Furnessa Mangrum, director of the Jefferson Avenue day care center.

The city is facing an epidemic of violence, and education is key to tackling that problem, said the Rev. William Wilkinson, pastor at Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. Wilkinson said that faith communities across the county need to join in the call for more child day care funding (see video clip below).

Father Brian Cool, chair of the Rochester Catholic Diocese's Public Policy Committee, criticized officials for considering a significant salary increase for at least one country employee while cutting assistance for children and working families. Though Cool didn't mention him by name, Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn would receive a $37,000 salary increase if the 2014 county budget is approved as proposed. 

"Our community suffers because too many children live in poverty," Cool says.

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