MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The New York Immigration Coalition estimates that 50% of New Yorkers struggle to pay for basic needs, including housing, food, and transportation. As a result, several New York City Council members are pushing for universal child care to encourage New Yorkers to return to the workforce.

A new bill aims to provide child care for children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age, expand hours and days of operation, and include access for undocumented children. It also identifies obstacles for parents and providers, such as cost, the disparities for caregivers and expanding the workforce infrastructure to support childcare programs across the five boroughs. 

Child care providers, predominantly women of color and immigrants, are in the bottom 3% of earners in New York City, and their employers are often forced to take out loans to keep facilities afloat. 

The bill’s comprehensive plan looks to ease the financial and logistical burden on families accessing child care and support and expand the early child care workforce.

The bill may have an uphill battle, as the cost to New York City could be astronomical. But advocates of universal child care argue that New York stands to lose more than $2 billion in taxable income from working mothers. 

The public hearing for this bill is slated for April.