September 10, 2021
We're happy to share good news from New York State’s Office of Children’s and Family Services (OCFS)! Out of school time providers are finally going to get paid for work they already completed throughout the pandemic.
Out of school time providers are the organizations that provide before, after school and summer programming. During COVID-19 the new regulations forced providers to figure out how to offer services to kids and families in different ways. Providers had to meet complicated regulations to ensure families were safe from the COVID-19 virus. In the last 18 months, some local providers were able to offer in-person services while most had to transition to virtual services.
Our local providers offered critical supports to families and students. They offered tutoring and extra-curricular support. They also aided families with resources for access to healthy food, transportation, benefits, and other common necessities. They allowed working families to get back to work. Most importantly, they supported our students by providing a healthy & stable relationship – a key component to kids’ well-being and success.
Unfortunately, providers would tragically learn that OCFS regulations did not cover virtual services, so they were not paid for their work. This injustice pushed advocates across the state to raise alarm bells.
Healthi Kids partnered with the Network for Youth Success, Greater Rochester After School and Summer Alliance, The United Way’s Child Care Task Force and The Children’s Agenda to demand change to make sure that programs could stay open for families.
We are thrilled to share the results of that advocacy work! After 18 months, our voices have been heard loud and clear! OCFS has amended the regulations. Providers will get paid for virtual and other services performed during the pandemic. Staff can be paid, and doors will remain open.
This is an amazing win for providers, parents and their kids. Parents and guardians will be able to rely on high-quality care offered by local programs. Kids will continue to reap the direct benefits from these services like additional opportunities to advance academic and social skills. Our out of school time workers will be able to get paid for the work they’ve put in over the last 18 months.
Join us today in celebrating this win for kids!