Skip to main content

Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties), New York

Project status

Completed Spring 2004

Lead Agency

Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc.

Contact Person

Keri Klockowski
Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
60 Calvert Ave.
Commack, NY  11725
phone: 631-462-0303
fax: 631-462-1617

Research Firm

Cornell University (David Kay, Mildred Warner, PhD) with Louise Stoney, Stoney Associates


  • Number of Establishments
  • Child Care Labor Force
  • Children Served
  • Gross Receipts
  • Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care
  • Multiplier Effects on Local Economy
  • Governmental Transfers / Subsidies

Case Study

Case Study: Long Island
“The Child Care Industry: An Integral Part of Long Island 's Economy”
Date of Study Completion: Spring, 2004



The Long Island study was sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk Child Care Councils. The Councils jointly retained a consultant, Keri Klockowski, who worked closely with Louise Stoney from the Cornell University Linking Economic Development and Child Care project.

The Long Island study team did not establish a single, broad advisory committee. Instead, they took an iterative approach. They began with an information session, held in coordination with the annual meeting of the Suffolk Child Care Council and attended by a broad group of stakeholders. At this meeting, Professor Mildred Warner (from the Cornell University Linking Economic Development and Child Care Project) shared information on child care economic impact studies in general and gave an update on the New York statewide study. Following the meeting, both Councils formed a research team to launch a Long Island regional study. A small committee, comprised of staff from the two child care councils' resource and referral divisions, was formed to begin data collection. Slowly, as data became available and the report took shape, this information was shared with a wider and wider group of people. Prior to it's release the report was reviewed and edited by a group of key stakeholders, including both county social service departments, local economic development agencies, a few local legislators, the board of directors for both Councils, key business leaders, the Rauch Foundation, the local United Way and others.


The Long Island Study, which was funded by the Rauch Foundation, aimed to:

  • Engage private sector leaders in promoting early care and education;
  • Help child care providers see themselves as an industry worthy of investment and ripe for collective action, rather than individual programs with different auspices and funding streams competing with one another for scant resources;
  • Launch an Island-wide data collection initiative that could help unite the Nassau and Suffolk Child Care Councils, as well as the local United Way and a new early childhood quality improvement initiative.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The Long Island report included data on a variety of full- and part-day child care and early education programs, including child care centers, Head Start, nursery schools, after-school programs and family child care homes. Preschool programs operated by local schools districts were NOT included in the study. Unregulated, home-based child care was also excluded unless the home was registered with either the Nassau or Suffolk child care council. Legally-exempt center-based child care programs (e.g. nursery schools or child care located in private schools) were included in the study if they were listed in the Nassau or Suffolk CCR&R data base.

Data Analysis

Measurement* Long Island
Number of Establishments 2,600
Child Care Labor Force 17,000
Children Served 74,000
Gross Receipts $612 million
Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care X
Multiplier Effects on Local Economy X
Governmental Transfers / Subsidies X
Tax Receipts / Fiscal Impact  

* Not all studies included the same components making it difficult to compare the numbers provided in this chart with those of other studies. In defining establishments, this study included regulated center and family care and license-exempt child care that could be accounted for in the CCR&R databases. Pre-K operated by public schools, and most regulation-exempt home-based care (informal care) was excluded from the study. In its definition of gross receipts, this study included provider charges (parent fees and vouchers in lieu of parent fees), Head Start, and provider subsidies (quality dollars, Child and Adult Care Food Program, wage supplements, etc.)

Data Challenges:

The two Councils do not collect data in the same way, so it was necessary to adjust definitions and, in some cases, pursue additional data collection. In a few instances, data from one Council were used to estimate supply in another. (For example, one of the CCR&R agencies maintained data on vacancy rates and the other did not. Thus, information from the agency that tracked vacancies was used to determine an average, county-wide vacancy rate adjustment--by type of care and age of child. This adjustment factor was applied to both counties.)

Like most study teams, Long Island did not have comprehensive data on unregulated child care. However, both Councils have data bases that include "legal twos" (home-based providers who are legally exempt from regulation because they care for only 2 children other than their own) as well as some (but not all) data on nursery schools and preschool programs located in private schools. Child care subsidies paid to unregulated home-based providers were included in the analysis of subsidy dollars and the number of unregulated providers who are registered with the state to serve subsidized children was mentioned (in a footnote) when reporting on industry size. Data on other unregulated care were not included.

The study team elected to exclude pre-kindergarten sponsored by public schools from the study because they felt that providers and policy makers would view these programs as part of the K-12 education sector rather than the early care and education industry.

Unique Findings

  • While most child care businesses on Long Island are home-based (50% of the 2,600 establishments) most children attend center based programs (86% of the 74,000 children enrolled in child care.)
  • Most of the industry's revenue is generated by center-based child care. Eighty-four percent of the $582 million tuition revenue is generated by child care centers.
  • The child care industry has an output multiplier of 1.92 -- which is larger than most other Long Island industries. This means the child care industry's linkages to the regional economy are stronger than many other industries.
  • Long Island tax dollars spent on child care draw a large amount of federal and state dollars into the regional economy--almost $10 for every $1 invested.



The Long Island study team took a unique approach to outreach. They used the report editing and publicity process to engage business leaders, local economic development agencies and policy makers. Additionally, several key individuals were invited to participate in the press briefing and breakfast. Prior to the press conference and breakfast the study team prepared background memos and individually briefed each expert on the study findings as well as key child care policy issues. The advisors clearly understood economic impact research and were comfortable talking about it. Having them present the findings to their peers in business and economic development gave the report additional credibility. A local business, Computer Associates, hosted the breakfast and provided space, food, printing and public relations at no cost.

Articles on the report have been submitted to local trade groups and organizations such as the Long Island Women's Agenda. Study data also have been used for presentation with the County Legislatures , in meetings with the editorial board of Cablevision and other outreach efforts.

The study also has helped to broaden the constituency for child care. In 2005, both the Suffolk and Nassau Councils recruited new business members to their boards from local banks and the local power company and other businesses.

Organizational Change

Several other early childhood reports were released at around the same time as the economic report. To ensure a coordinated focus, the Rauch Foundation retained a national media consultant to prepare a shared public relations and outreach campaign. This was not an easy process, because the frame used by the economic impact study (e.g. child care is an industry that makes economic contributions in its own right) was very different from the approach taken by other organizations (who were focused on universal preK, quality improvement and home visiting programs.) However, after several lengthy discussions the groups agreed on the following frame:

  • Child care supports the regional economy (as a rapidly growing industry that contributes to growth in jobs and income);
  • Child care supports parents (by enabling them to be productive employees);
  • Child care supports children to succeed in school and life (high quality child care is a cornerstone of the knowledge economy.)

Janet Walerstein, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Suffolk, feels that the study has "helped enormously in opening minds about the benefits of child care… " Jan Barbieri, Executive Director of the Nassau Child Care Council, says that "the study is beginning to make a difference in how the child care community views itself."


Long Island advocates have used the study to effectively fight budget cuts and expand support for the child care industry as a whole. Both Councils have focused on strategies to strengthen child care businesses. The Suffolk Council is working with the Long Island Small Business Development Center on a child care management training initiative. Nassau is exploring a similar approach.

Jan Barbieri is clear that the study was an important step for the Councils. But much more needs to be done. "Our biggest challenge is finding the resources to really keep working on this. We need dedicated staff to not only keep a focus on the frame change but to help explore ways to implement some of the recommendations."

Interview with:
Janet Walerstein, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Suffolk
Jan Barbieri, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Nassau
March, 2005


Download report