ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — With the states budget agreement this past weekend, lawmakers are doubling down on child care. The newly agreed upon funds will support more than half of all children living in New York. 

Lawmakers and child care advocates celebrating a historic $7 billion investment in childcare to be used over the next four years.

One child at Viking Child Care Center said, “I like school because my friends are so great.”

The center is a part of the Hudson Valley Community College Campus where they’ve offered child care to students and the community for the past 35 years.  

Heather Henry’s son, Malachi has been attending this daycare since he was four months old. She says the teachers are hard working and dedicated, “They are helping mold our children and teach our children and help them grow and progress. The dedication that they show is amazing, and they really need to earn a living wage.”

Child care advocate, Andrea Smith says part of the funding will go towards stabilization grants that will go out to providers. This will help them hire more staff and give raises to current employees. 

Smith says if there’s no place to take care of children, then people will leave their jobs. She says this investment will not only help daycares, but the economy as a whole. 

“And this will allow us to fill some of the workforce shortages that have been happening and really hampering economic recovery,” she said.

The funding will also be used for infrastructure to build nice playgrounds like the one at Viking Daycare.