A task force met for the first time yesterday hoping to bring affordable and high-quality child care to New York.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of the Child Care Availability Task Force. The task force, established earlier this year as part of the Governor's 2018 Women's Agenda, assembles a group of experts focused on developing solutions that will improve access to quality, affordable child care in New York.

"Every parent should be able to go to work without worrying if their children are getting the care they deserve," Cuomo said. "Affordable and high-quality child care is not only vital for working families, it's also essential to strengthening our state's economy and by continuing to create these opportunities for parents to succeed in both work and family life we are building a stronger New York for all."

The task force held its first meeting on Wednesday.

"As a mother, I know how important it is to have access to quality child care to help balance responsibilities at work and at home," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the Child Care Availability Task Force, said "We want to ensure that working families are provided with the resources for safe, accessible and affordable child care. By promoting and investing in child care, we know it can improve women's participation in the workforce and narrow the gender wage gap."

The task force will examine access to affordable child care, the availability of childcare for parents with non-traditional work hours, changes that could promote or enhance access to child care, business incentives to increase child care access and the impact on tax credits and deductions relating to child care.

"In New York, we believe no woman should have to choose between staying home to raise her family or advancing in the workforce because of lack of access to quality, affordable child care," Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls Melissa DeRosa said.

The Child Care Availability Task Force is comprised of representatives from the child care provider community, the advocacy community, representatives of the business community, unions that represent child care providers, representatives from several state agencies and local departments of social services.

The task force is expected to share its initial recommendations next year and finalize its report by the end of 2020.