A state appellate judge has stopped Westchester County from implementing a cost increase to parents in the county’s subsidized child care programs that was scheduled to go into effect today.
The temporary restraining order, the second in the long-running court fight between Democratic legislators and the administration of Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, will be in place until a hearing by a panel of judges for the appellate division, second department scheduled for next Wednesday.
The legislators have been fighting the plan by the Department of Social Services to raise the parent share of child care costs from 20 percent of income above the poverty line to 35 percent. Most of the thousands of families in the programs make less than 200 percent of the poverty line.
DSS officials argue the change is needed because the program will run out of money before the end of the year. Child care advocates have argued it will stress already stressed families and possibly push some out of licensed day care.
The increase was first scheduled to go into effect June 1 but was postponed after a Supreme Court judge granted a restraining order. The case was dismissed in August and the legislators appealed. Meanwhile, DSS rescheduled the increase for Nov. 1, notifying the parents of the increase for the second time.
There is also a restraining order in place in a second child care case challenging the county’s plan to freeze applications to the programs.