The cost of childcare in the Rochester region is around $10,000 a year for an infant. That’s prohibitive for many families.

Childcare plays a vital role in helping parents maintain stable employment. Quality childcare also benefits children by providing a stable, nurturing environment.

Monroe County spends $44 million on childcare subsidies for about 7,500 children. The county contributes about $5.5 million, with state and federal funds making up the rest.

Those funds don’t cover every family that needs assistance. In fact, Monroe County provides assistance for half as many kids it did in 2001, according to the Children’s Agenda.

The City of Rochester can step up and help. If we’re serious about reducing the city’s enormously high poverty and unemployment rates, we can be part of the solution.

For less than 2 percent of the city budget, we can provide childcare slots for an additional 1,000 kids. The state may provide matching funds, increasing the number of families we can assist. The city is not a human service provider, but we can contract with Monroe County for supplemental service.

We need to reprioritize how we spend our resources to have maximum impact.

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