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NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative Tuesday to expand child care for working families.

The proposal, which could expand child care access to 15,000 high-need children, called to raise the qualifying income threshold for subsidized child care and extend full-time child care for families who work part-time, according to the mayor.

The legislation would enable the city to raise the income threshold to $70,000 for a family of four to help more families qualify for subsidized child care. It would also provide full-time child care to those who work at least 20 hours a week. Currently, qualified families only receive child care for the number of hours they work.

The mayor acknowledged the state’s current child care eligibility rules are “too strict” and “red tape” is getting in the way of the city’s recovery.

“Red tape can’t get in the way of our city’s recovery,” said de Blasio. “To really bring our city back, we need our State partners to step up and help more working families qualify for childcare. Together we can beat back COVID and create a stronger and fairer city.” 

Many New York families have struggled with jobs, the economy, health and housing, especially during the pandemic. 

To help these families, the city has called on the state to distribute more than $2 billion in federal stimulus money that would expand child care.

The city is also calling on the state to expand access to child care in the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. 

“We must put families, and most importantly our children, at the center of our recovery,” said Melanie Hartzog, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services. “There is no better way to do that than to expand child care access and stabilize the child care sector. Quality early education and care is something every child deserves, and is a proven investment in our future. The need is urgent and we must respond.”