As we start to look back and analyze all of the ramifications of the year of pandemic, certain aspects of our lifestyles have come under scrutiny.  One of those is child care in America.

It was magnified this past year when so many people in the U.S. workforce stayed at home to work and did so with children in the house.  Daycare was unavailable due to the coronavirus and the family unit had to kind of "move in together."

So, while the state of child care in our country will almost certainly be undergoing a review for the future, New York State is seeking to address some of the financial hardships this issue brought over the past year.

The state is making $25 million available in child care scholarships for essential workers. Those include police, firefighters, paramedics, health care providers and grocery store workers. Costs will be covered for children aged six weeks through 12 years for those whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Applications are now being accepted and funds will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis. Go to ocfs.ny.gov to apply.

We believe this is a program that makes sense.  And we are pleased that the "target" audience for these special financial scholarships is one of the groups that carried such a heavy burden during the pandemic, our wonderful first responders.

We encourage all the first responders in our three-county listening area to apply for this financial relief ASAP, =as you can see in the press release funds will only be available on a first-come first-serve basis.

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