Home care providers — the folks who watch your kids when you’re at work — are some of the lowest paid workers in the country. Most of the city’s 20,000 providers earn around $19,000 a year — well below the poverty line for a family of four. In October 2007, New York state said these workers were long overdue for a raise.
The state, through the city’s children’s services agency, ACS, was going to pay them market rate for their efforts. More than a year later, says Brooklyn councilman Bill DeBlasio (who held court about it on the steps of City Hall today), these workers, mostly low-income women, haven’t been paid. Thanks to a typically convoluted budget battle between the city agency and the state, the providers have been shorted about $50 million dollars in pay. The state is threatening to cut off the agency’s entire funding of $475 million if the workers don’t get their paychecks. But the agency says that the state hasn’t given them enough money to pay them. Go figure.