ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — On Tuesday at the Capitol, advocates and lawmakers said the child care infrastructure is in crisis with many parents struggling to access affordable and quality care. That’s why they’re pushing for the Children and Families Reinvestment Act. They’re are asking for $5 billion in the state budget to create a universal child care system across New York.

In a letter written to the Governor it says: “Our state’s support for children and families is inadequate and our funding choices do not effectively support the values embodied in our stated “family policy guidelines” codified in Executive Law §991, which states that “[f]amilies deserve a realistic level of economic security.”

In part the package of bills would include a pay raise for childcare workers. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Jabari Brisport said people want to stay in the workforce, but simply can’t afford it. “This is their life’s passion, but they cannot afford the poverty wages we are paying, so they are leaving to find work elsewhere, which means that centers cannot take care of enough kids, their waitlist, or expanding into the months or year, they’re closing down.

Assemblywoman Taylor Darling said the legislation would also invest in the foster care system. “Because this industry is under attack from other industries that are paying much much better wages and people form relationships with children, they want the best for the children, but if they cannot afford to feed their families and care for their children, they will not stay in the industry,” said Darling. To help fund the investment, the legislation includes a proposal that would increase taxes on the wealthy.