On October 27, state lawmakers visited The Innovative Daycare in Freeport, Long Island to learn more about what they are currently experiencing as child care providers in the wake of the pandemic.

The Innovative Daycare, a group family child care program owned and operated by Janna Rodriguez, joined QUALITYstarsNY in 2020 during the pandemic. Their Quality Improvement Specialist, Karin Sperb, joined them for the visit to contribute to the discussion and highlight what it takes to create high quality early childhood experiencesand why it’s so critical to healthy child development.

The Innovative Daycare is the second QUALITYstarsNY participant to host lawmakers as part of a universal child care listening tour. NYS Senator Jabari Brisport, Chair of the Senate Children and Families Committee, is conducting the state-wide tour to engage with providers and parents in order to learn more about current needs in the child care community and inform state policy. For the Long Island stop of the tour, Senator Brisport was joined by the Chair of the Children and Families Committee in the State Assembly, NYS Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi. The Innovative Daycare’s local legislators, NYS Senator John Brooks and Assembly Member Judy Griffin also attended the visit.

The legislators were particularly interested in learning about the different aspects of running an early childhood program, including partnerships with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and working with child care subsidies. Janna shared with lawmakers that she had stayed up late into the night completing paperwork to try to ensure that parents in her community can access the child care subsidies they need.

In addition to speaking with the providers, the lawmakers had the opportunity to engage with the children as they played in the morning. They also joined the children for lunchtime with a delicious and nutritious lunch provided by Janna and her staff.

More About the Child Care Listening Tour

Following the program visits, Senator Brisport is also hosting evening forums for each stop of the listening tour so parents and direct service professionals can participate virtually to share their thoughts and join the conversation. Many important topics were raised during the Long Island forum, including the need for fair and adequate compensation, higher subsidy rates, greater affordability for families, and more support for the child care workforce during recovery and beyond, among others. Check the tour schedule to register to participate in the virtual forum for your region.

QUALITYstarsNY participants and their Quality Improvement Specialists have had the opportunity to participate in the NYC and Long Island stops of the child care listening tour. We are pleased they could be a part of these important discussions to share their perspectives. Access to high quality, affordable child care is critical for New York State’s recovery from the pandemic, and child care providers are still facing unprecedented challenges and strains due to COVID-19. State supports are necessary to secure the child care sector so families can return to work. This is a crucial moment to fund policies and support services, such as QUALITYstarsNY, that will ensure more early childhood programs can persevere through this difficult time and achieve success into the future—allowing more families to access high quality child care.

We thank Senator Brisport and the lawmakers joining him on the tour for taking the time to learn about the issues from the direct service professionals and for their commitment to building a child care system in New York that works for educators, administrators, children, families, and their communities.

Read about the NYC stop on the listening tour where lawmakers visited QUALITYstarsNY participant Greenpoint Garden Playhouse.

The Innovative Daycare Owner/Director Janna Rodriguez discusses aspects of running a child care program and her current challenges with lawmakers.

Lawmakers join children for lunchtime provided by Janna and her staff.

 New York State Senator Jabari Brisport engages with children at The Innovative Daycare.