City Council: Beware of Nanny Agencies

Daily Intelligencer • April 24, 2007

It’s nerve-racking enough to find a nanny in this city — well, at least so we’re told — and now it seems you can’t even trust the agencies that are supposed to help ease the process. The City Council released a study last week showing that about half the nanny agencies surveyed break the law: A four-month survey of 37 out of the city’s 52 nanny agencies (as well as interviews with a handful of nannies) turned up infractions running from the bureaucratic (leaving license numbers off public advertisements) to the dubious (overcharging both parents and nannies for services; operating without a license).

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Paying Daddy to Be Dad

The Huffington Post • Oct. 10, 2006

Forget marriage promotion as the solution to poverty. New York State is taking on fathers. The move has been a long time in coming; for all the success welfare reform had in moving single mothers into jobs–albeit low-wage ones–it’s largely been a failure at doing the same for men.

Here in New York, the state welfare agency is launching a special tax credit for noncustodial parents, at least 90 percent of whom are fathers, to encourage (and make it easier for) them to pay child support–the first of its kind in the country. Parents up to date on their child support can get up to $1600 back at tax time–and they don’t cease to be eligible for the program until their income exceeds $32,000 annually, a far more generous threshold than the regular EITC.

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Extra Credit For Fathers: Reliability Earns Tax Break

City Limits • Oct. 9, 2006

A new tax break will be available come April for lower-income parents responsible for child support, making it the first of its kind in the country. State officials are launching an earned income tax credit (EITC) for noncustodial parents who are current with their child support payments, offering up to $1,600 a year in a refundable credit.

“What we’re trying to do is work on the success of welfare reform, where we saw single moms move off the rolls. But we have not seen the same movement among young men,” said Michael Hayes, spokesperson for the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which will administer the program.

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After-School Budget Won’t Budge: City Leaves Providers Scrambling

City Limits • Dec. 12, 2005

Child care providers around the city were riled up last week after a city official publicly explained the approach undergirding the city’s massive new after-school child care initiative: Pay less than needed and expect service providers to make up the rest.

“Government can be a big part of the solution but not the only part,” said Bill Chong, deputy commissioner of the Department for Youth and Community Development (DYCD), at a Milano School forum on the new “Out of School Time” (OST) program last week. “To depend simply on city resources is a short-sighted approach.”

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Big Changes in Child Care: City Hopes to Regulate Informal Providers

City Limits • Oct. 31, 2005

As the city moves to overhaul its public child care system, officials are looking to recruit new allies into the fight: “informal” providers who currently receive public funds to care for children. The initiative, which also institutes background checks on informal providers, comes less than a year after Jaylen Robinson, a 19-month old in informal care, was smothered and killed by his caregiver.

Still in the early stages of discussion, the idea is a small component of the massive child care overhaul announced last week. It marks the city’s first major attempt to regulate unlicensed care, which has grown dramatically in recent years.

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Market Babies

Finalist, 2004 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism


City Limits • January 2003

Kwame Boame is only 6 years old, but he’s already got a helluva commute. Every Monday morning, Kwame’s mother, Kimberly Paul, rustles him out the door at 6:30 to take the A train from their apartment in the Dyckman Houses, at the northern tip of Manhattan, to the island’s southern border. In the Broadway-Nassau station, next to the magazine stand on the A platform, they meet Kwame’s great-grandmother, who shepherds Kwame onto the train to Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he goes to school. For the next five days, he’ll stay with his grandmother and great-grandmother. Kwame won’t see his mother again until Friday.

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