Celebrating 50 Years

Volunteer Leadership a Hallmark for 50 Years

On this 50th anniversary of the Child Development Council of Central New York, Inc. we pause to reflect on the local volunteer leaders who have worked tirelessly alongside the Council staff to discern the needs and found the Council, nurture our early years, guide us through challenging times, celebrate the impacts of innovative programming, and continue to envision a community where all children are healthy, happy, and thriving!

Our mission continues to focus on “Unlocking the Potential” by investing in the next generation of our youth.  The evidence from leading economists and early childhood scientists shows the urgency of our work.  We have adopted a challenging strategic plan to:

  • Support the basic needs of families as they develop long-range parenting goals
  • Ensure easy access to information on children’s development for the whole community
  • Increase access to resources to help families pay for child care with a long-range goal that all parents pay no more than 15% of their income on child care
  • Become a critical source of support for best practices in providing high-quality child care
  • Lead and engage in new and existing health education and reforms

We ‘stand on the shoulders’ of the volunteer leaders who have gone before.  Their vision, ingenuity and dogged determination have made it possible for us to truly celebrate the many innovations in our community and to fulfill our mission in promoting the healthy development of children and families at home, in child care, and in the community.  

Our community is healthier and economically more robust because of the day-to-day work of volunteers with the Child Development Council.

Here’s a synopsis of the Council’s history, decade by decade:


  • Founded the Tompkins County Day Care Service, funded by private and public monies
  • Hired June Rogers, coordinator, to recruit and license family day care homes, establish a central referral and information services
  • Established first Board of Directors
  • Opened Gathering Place for early childhood education supplies
  • Formed Family Day Care Mothers’ Association
  • Incorporated the Day Care & Child Development Council of Tompkins County, Inc.
  • Expanded programs with an Appalachian Regional Commission grant
  • Created the Inter-Nursery Scholarship Fund
  • Advocated for mixed-income child care groups and successfully changing New York State regulations that required segregated private- and public-funded child care


  • Council recognized as a resource and model for many state and national organizations invested in child care services
  • Established the Central Day Care Scholarship Fund
  • Expanded programming with Child Development/Mental Health Consultants and Infant Outreach Coordinator
  • Created the Car Seat Loan Program, funded by a grant from the NYS Health Department
  • Supported providers in creating after-school and sick child care
  • Council became an umbrella agency for the Teen Pregnancy/Parenting Program (TP3) funded, in part, by the NYS Dept of Social Services
  • Initiated the Employer Supported Child Care Project in cooperation with the City of Ithaca
  • Became a sponsor for the USDA food reimbursement program for family day care providers
  • Transitioned Council professionals from founding director June Rogers with Kathy Lilley, Terry Pasco and Eva Boman Cochran.


  • Advocated with NYS Child Care Coordinating Council for increasing child care support for working parents
  • Created start-up fund for center and family day care providers and training for child care workers
  • Developed Tompkins County collaborative program for Healthy Families NY
  • Initiated TP3 Peer Education Panel presentations for teen pregnancy prevention
  • Developed confidential Warm Line consultations for parents and providers
  • Computerized Child Care Resource & Referral data base aligned with statewide data collection
  • Expanded Circle of Friends and other development initiatives
  • Supported on-site School Age Child Care programs in all Tompkins County elementary schools (the first in New York State)
  • Transitioned Council leadership from Marge Dill to Sue Dale-Hall


  • Family Support Services Program helps parents become successful teachers and advocates for their children with Ages & Stages Questionnaires
  • Promoted access to local health care for families served
  • Managed Cornell University Child Care Scholarships
  • Supported child care providers in meeting new regulations, especially for “legally exempt” informal care
  • Partnered with Tompkins Chamber of Commerce to develop innovative approaches to finance early care and education
  • Conducted the first Economic Impact Study for child care with Cornell City and Regional Planning and Professor Mildred Warner
  • Launched Infant/Toddler Initiative
  • Utilized world wide web for communications including disseminating information about statewide regulations, health bulletins, legislative ‘action alerts’


  • Created the ‘basic needs fund’ to provide formula, diapers, car seats, safety gates, and more
  • Managed decreased resources with increased collaborations and grant funded projects, e.g., FAR public-private partnership with DSS, Zero-to-Three Shared Professional Development Project, Early Childhood Development Collaboration; Cortland Child Care Scholarship Fund with Chamber of Commerce and Child Care Centers, Kidsville Community event and more
  • Created Playdate in the Park
  • Expanded home visiting with Early Head Start Home Based program
  • Added online child care search option
  • Advocated for NYS Child Care Opt Out bill that protects providers’ personal information
  • Continued relevant child care provider training to meet NYS regulations and partnered with ICSD Early Childhood Program to support Universal Pre-K staff development
  • Launched new name and redesigned website
  • Applied for and received NYS Quality Assurance designation
  • Merged with Cortland Area Child Care Council and renamed the agency: Child Development Council of Central New York, Inc.
  • Hired a Marketing/Development leader to build continued awareness and capacity
  • Received Cavity-Free Kids Grant for Central New York as part of a regional hub model, the Cavity Free Kids (CFK) grant supports all Cavity Free Kids training and expansion activities in CNY counties – Cortland, Tompkins, Onondaga, Madison, Herkimer, and Oneida counties

Nancy Potter – Board Member, Chair of Resource & Development Committee