ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The state is looking into a child care center at the Capitol for children of lawmakers. Some are questioning if the center lacks proper protocol for supervising those kids. Since the beginning of this year, room 944A located in the Legislative Office Building, has been providing child care for parents who work in the legislature.
This is completely tax payer funded. As previously reported by the Times Union, two legislative aids are in charge of the operations; however the proper licensure has been brought into question. Governor Hochul says because this is a drop-in center and not a daycare center, the the standards are different, “This is just a you know, a few hours a day, when you just have sort of a situation, you don’t have a babysitter so I think that was the premise behind it.”
Hochul said this is something the Assembly approached her office about last summer, which is when they put the Assembly in contact with the Office of Child and Family Services. When Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige asked her if a license is needed for a drop in center, here’s what the Governor said. “That is what’s being looked at now, but our understanding is that there was not, because there’s different requirements for a drop in center versus a child care center,” said Hochul.
Speaker Carl Heastie weighed in, “I honestly don’t even understand why this has become such an issue. You know, you have young women who are now members of the Assembly… for them to be able to come to work and care for their children, I think should be the thing that people should care about the most. I just wanted to make sure that they had a place where they could have their children be in a safe environment, while they do their jobs.”
The Speaker says along with conversations he had with the Governor and Minority Leader Will Barclay, the Assembly worked with OGS when they took on the initiative. Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige did reach out to OGS for comment, but has not heard back. “So this wasn’t some covert mission. It was just trying to have a resource for people with young kids,” said Heastie.
In a statement the Office of Children and Family services said: “OCFS is assessing if the service model of the child care program in question requires State oversight. Since this review is in progress, we cannot comment further at this time.”