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New York: Investing in New York: An Economic Analysis of the Early Care and Education Sector

Project status

Completed July, 2003

Lead Agency

NYSCCC and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services

Contact Person

Carol Saginaw
Director, NYSCCC
230 Washington Avenue Extension
Albany, NY 12203

Research Firm

Cornell University, Mildred Warner PhD
Dept. of City & Regional Planning
204 West Sibley
Ithaca, NY 14853


  • 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


  • Long Report (15+ Pages)
  • Stand-Alone Executive Summary/Brochure
  • Newspaper Article / Media Coverage
  • Conducted a Series of Presentations
  • Sent Out an Outreach Letter
  • Involved Business / Economic Development
  • Worked with a Professional PR Consultant

Case Study

Case Study: New York
“Investing in New York: An Economic Analysis of the Early Care and Education Sector”
Date of Study Completion: July, 2003, formal release Spring 2004



Building on the success of the pioneer study in Tompkins County, NY, the New York State Child Care Coordinating Council (NYSCCCC) joined with Cornell University to conduct a statewide early care and education economic study. The goal of the project was to demonstrate the economic importance of the early care and education sector in order to provide public officials, the business community, and citizens with a clear understanding of the sectors’ importance and role in the economy. The advisory team included members of the State Office for Children and Family Services, Department of Education (pre-kindergarten and Head Start) and several advocacy organizations (Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, and the Greater Upstate Law Project).


NYSCCCC recognized a need to improve its outreach and promotion within the business community in order to demonstrate the importance of investing in child care. Additionally, while New York State allocated social services dollars to child care, it was not viewed as a true industry that warranted economic development resources and supports.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The report focuses on a broad array of child care and early education programs including Universal Pre-K and Head Start/Early Head Start programs. Only licensed and registered programs were measured due to the lack of information on informal care, except when calculating gross receipts which included subsidies paid to informal providers not already counted in the licensing system. However, the study does provide a footnote on self-employed providers who are captured in IRS reports. These accounted for 34,399 more home providers than included in the licensed system. Because no additional data were available on these providers, they were not included in the estimates of establishments, workforce, children served or gross receipts.

Data Analysis

Measurement* New York
Number of Establishments 22,000
Child Care Labor Force 119,000
Children Served 622,795
Gross Receipts $4.671 billion
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 its definition of the number of establishments, this study included licensed and regulated center and family care, pre-K in public schools, and did not include regulation-exempt home-based care unless these providers were part of the state subsidy system In its definition of gross receipts, this study included provider charges (parent fees and subsidies in lieu of parent fees), and government funded programs (Head Start, Pre-K) and provider subsidies (quality dollars, Child and Adult Care Food Program, etc.)

The biggest difficulty with data was in its collection. Specifically, it was a challenge to bring the right players to the table with clear, consistent numbers. This challenge was addressed by close collaboration with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and by being persistent about getting the information needed to do the report. Especially problematic was obtaining data on the labor force. Most regions develop estimates based on staffing ratios, but this method often under-represents the true labor force. To overcome this problem the team used statewide data from the retention program to estimate a dministrative and support staff for centers and school age child care based and found 0.23 non-direct care staff person for each direct care employee.

To help strengthen data, the New York study team conducted a survey of the entire CCR&R network statewide to double check all data elements listed in the table. Data gathered from CCR&Rs were compared to state licensing and market rate data.

Unique Findings:

  • Parent tuition is 63% of all revenues.
  • The average dependent care tax credit received is $270. Given that New York’s credit is refundable (up to $1440 per family) this suggests the need for more outreach to low income families.
  • The 2000 census data for New York State shows that there are almost 1.2 million children under age six whose parents work and an additional 2.2 million children between the ages of 6-13 with working parents. Thus, 622,000 is actually an undercount of the number of children in paid care. 
  • Using reports of parents claiming the Dependent Care Tax Credit, the study estimated that child care supports 750,000 working parents and these parents collectively earn more than $30 billion. 
  • If New York were to provide subsidies to all of its eligible low-income working families, the estimated impact, measured by parents’ earnings, would be nearly $7 billion. 
  • The report includes detailed appendices on methodologies and data sources. As well as a breakdown of multiplier results by all metro regions and rural counties in low, moderate and high income categories.


Organizational Change and Outreach

An important collaboration came within the child care community itself. NYSCCCC had a goal of bringing the sectors of care and education together to collaborate on the report. They are now in the process of negotiating with suppliers about giving discounts to Child Care Resource & Referral agencies and providers as a collective, thus creating leverage through an economy of scale.

The NYSCCCC mailed the report to NY State legislators, as well as to all of the state’s resource and referral agencies asking them to contact their local press. They worked with a non-profit media group to get the story published in business journals and on several radio stations.

Another goal was to encourage counties to do their own regional studies in order to bring the message to local officials. Long Island, New York City and Chemung County completed studies and Monroe and Erie Counties are in the planning process.


The report recommends that early care and education be part of New York's economic development strategy. The study was also used to encourage use of the statewide refundable child care tax credit and employer tax-free flexible spending accounts. NYSCCCC has received a grant from the National Women’s Law center to promote these child care tax benefits.

Interview with:
Carol Saginaw, Executive Director
New York State Child Care Coordinating Council
Summer 2004


Download report