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Connecticut’s Planned Child Care Investments Aim to Provide Support to Workers

  • Governor Ned Lamont announces plan to invest $210 million of federal funds in strengthening Connecticut’s child care programs
  • Initiative aims to provide support to working families, especially those shifting careers after being displaced by COVID-19
  • Plan would also provide millions in grants to child care providers

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

A planned multimillion dollar investment in early childhood programs in Connecticut is being driven in part by an effort to support working families and stem an exodus of women from the labor force.

During a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to New Haven, Governor Ned Lamont unveiled a plan to invest $210 million in federal funds the state is receiving in the programs. Lamont said bolstering child care options is a necessary step to growing Connecticut’s economy and supporting working families.

“The strength of our state is dependent upon the strength of our early childhood programs, not only because they provide critical support for development of the youngest people in our communities who will lead the next generation of our economy, but they also support those who are currently in our workforce and need these services so they can go to work or receive career training opportunities that can lead them to even better jobs,” said Lamont.

The plan’s components include:

  • A two-year $50 million investment in Connecticut’s Care 4 Kids program to expand this support to parents enrolled in higher education or approved workforce training programs, thus assisting those who were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and are preparing to shift careers to meet new job opportunities
  • $120 million in grants to licensed child care centers, group child care homes, family child care homes, and license-exempt programs that accept Care 4 Kids child care subsidies
  • A $26 million investment in high quality child care programs over two years
  • $6 million for support and coaching for child care programs

Connecticut’s congressional delegation voiced support for the plan in a joint statement, and Harris also praised the initiative during her visit.

Lamont said the announcement is the first phase of a plan to use federal funds to improve child care support in the state. Connecticut is anticipating that $276 million in American Rescue Plan funding will be used to stabilize the child care industry and expand child care assistance, while $70 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act will provide further support.

Lamont says the plan will be enacted collaboratively with the Connecticut General Assembly. House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora voiced some support for the measure but also said further reforms are needed, such as revising the state’s day care employee certification process.

There are currently about 15,000 Connecticut families receiving child care subsidies. Lamont recent dedicated $8 million to pay Care 4 Kids fees for new and existing families who receive subsidies between April 1 and Sept. 30 of this year.

The Governor’s Workforce Council and the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, along with Office of Early Chidlhood, have also been collaborating to “study the cost of providing quality child care, to encourage workforce development and adequate compensation by aligning credentials with higher wages, and to engage the private sector.”

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