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Fourth Department — Social Services Law: Williams v. Carrion

Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Social Services Law

Child Care Assistance — Copayment Regulation

Williams v. Carrion
CA 13-01257
Appealed from Supreme Court, Monroe County

Background: The plaintiffs commenced a class action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of low-income families who are eligible for child care assistance, but who are required to pay more than 10 percent of their respective gross incomes for such care. The complaint alleges that the defendant’s copayment regulation violates the Social Services Law because it does not provide for a single sliding fee scale, nor is it based on the family’s ability to pay.

Ruling: The Appellate Division held that the copay requirement provides for equitable access to child care assistance. Although similarly situated families in different districts may pay different amounts for child care, equitable does not necessarily mean equal. A district choosing to use its limited funds to serve more families through a lower subsidy does not violate principles of equity.

Susan C. Antos of the Empire Justice Center for the plaintiffs-appellants; Laura Etlinger of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the defendant-respondent