ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Child care centers across the State University of New York system, including several in Western New York, are getting a big boost as the state pumps in money to improve quality.

$4.5 million in federal and state money will go to SUNY schools to improve and provide paid internships for students pursuing early childhood studies. Governor Hochul is focusing on eliminating “child care deserts.”

In WNY, the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State, Erie Community College, SUNY Fredonia and Niagara Community College will get a piece of the funding.

Hochul’s Executive Budget includes $10.8 million to create new SUNY child care centers.

46 of 64 state campuses currently have childcare centers.

SUNY campuses with child care centers served 1,200 student-parents and more than 4,000 child care spots last school year. Campus employees and community members can also use the SUNY care centers.

“Child care services are a critical part of our economic recovery, providing parents much-needed support as they pursue an education or join the workforce,” said Governor Hochul. “This funding is an important step toward my administration’s goal of eliminating child care deserts across SUNY campuses statewide and adequately investing in our state’s students, faculty, and working parents.”

Here’s a breakdown of how funding will be distributed, according to NYS:

  • $3.9 million in federal grants for all SUNY child care centers as part of the Child Care Stabilization Funds by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). These funds, made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, help with operational costs such as personnel and training as well as support for the mental health needs of employees and their children.
  • $500,000 to 16 campuses as part of SUNY’s Early Childhood Worker paid internship program. 139 paid interns who are earning their degree in early childhood studies will be hired to work an average of 20 hours a week. The new scholarship program fills the demand for additional child care support while providing each student with valuable real-life early childhood job experience to complement academic coursework.
  • $80,000 to 11 campuses to achieve or maintain accreditation from nationally recognized quality organizations. Funding will go toward replacing worn classroom equipment, supplying class materials, ensuring ADA access, and paying for consulting and accreditation fees.

For a full list of campuses that will cash in, click here.

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.