Governor Lamont Declares Historic Investments in Youngster Care Applications Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Lamont Announces Historic Investments in Childcare Programs Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
State to release $ 210 million in COVID-19 funds to support childcare services and families in need of childcare
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont announced today that his administration plans to make a historic investment in early childhood programs across Connecticut to support their ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing economic impact, including by releasing $ 210 million from federal funding the state has received to date to support efforts to restore the pandemic.
The governor announced the plan this afternoon during a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to the New Haven Boys and Girls Club. The Connecticut congressional delegation supported the passage of funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), passed in late 2020, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) approved a few weeks ago.
The Lamont administration will work with the Connecticut General Assembly to finalize the plan so that the state can continue to support children, families and childcare workers during this difficult time.
“The strength of our state depends on the strength of our early childhood programs, not only because they are critical to the development of the youngest people in our communities who will lead the next generation of our economy, but also those who are Right now we are in our workforce and we need these services so they can go to work or get career opportunities that can lead them to even better jobs. ” Governor Lamont said. “If we are to grow our economy and help families get back to work, we need to support childcare providers. This is a significant investment in these services at a time when this support is so urgently needed. In particular, I would like to thank the Connecticut Congressional Delegation for advocating childcare funding in federal law and ensuring that these resources are quickly delivered to the state. “
“We cannot reopen our economy if families do not have secure, reliable and affordable care.” Connecticut Congressional Delegation members – including Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Jahana Hayes – said in a joint statement. “Long before the pandemic, the childcare industry was struggling. We are excited that this transformative federal funding, secured by the Connecticut Delegation, will help our childcare and early childhood education sectors thrive. This historic relief is the investment necessary to rebuild our childcare industry so that it works for everyone. “
This announcement builds on the Lamont government’s proven commitment to early childhood. Over the past two years, the governor has been raising awareness of the importance of childcare to the state’s workforce and economy. Since the pandemic began, Governor Lamont has supported the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood’s dedicated efforts to support childcare providers, help stabilize childcare programs, and recognize high standards across the childcare system.
“This is a historic day for children and families in Connecticut.” Beth Bye, Connecticut’s early childhood commissioner, said. “Lawyers and families have been calling for more accessible childcare for decades. Grants maintain childcare infrastructure, childcare grants support parents who sign up for workforce education, and Connecticut’s Childcare Grant Program makes significant investments in quality childcare programs. “
The plan includes:
- Extend access: Central to the plan is a two-year investment of $ 50 million to pay for childcare through Connecticut’s Care 4 Kids program for college-enrolled parents and approved workforce training programs. This will support parents who were displaced from their jobs during the pandemic and who are in need of childcare while they receive education and training from the workforce to find new job opportunities. Connecticut is one of only three states where parents are excluded from childcare in college and education programs.
- Support from child carers: A total of $ 120 million will be used in grants to stabilize the operations of childcare companies that have been hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. Many of these companies have faced economic difficulties as childcare enrollment has been limited, health and safety measures have been costly, and overall childcare revenues have fallen significantly. Some programs have closed their doors and the rest are struggling to keep the doors open to the children and families they serve. Grants are open to all licensed daycare centers, group children’s homes, family children’s homes and license-free programs that accept grants for childcare from Care 4 Kids. Grants have a focus on equity, with total funding weighted to support programs in underserved communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
- Invest in quality:: The plan is also investing $ 26 million over two years in high quality childcare programs that pay significantly higher market prices for programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association for Family Childcare. An additional $ 6 million will support and coach childcare programs to secure accreditation and associated fees. Research shows that investing in higher quality childcare programs produces better results for children in the short and long term.
In addition, Governor Lamont recently allocated $ 8 million to pay family fees for Care 4 Kids for new and existing families who will receive childcare grants from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021. There are currently approximately 15,000 Connecticut families receiving childcare grants. All of these families will lose the parent’s share of the payment.
The Lamont administration has also prioritized childcare programs and childcare providers through the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls. These groups work with the Early Childhood Office to study the cost of quality childcare, promote workforce development and adequate compensation by adapting their skills to higher wages and involving the private sector. The councils made early commitments from Boehringer Ingelheim, Electric Boat, LEGO Systems Inc. and Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, to advance the private sector engagement part of their work.
The governor said the plans announced today represent the first phase of childcare through the federal aid fund. The rest is to be announced and approved in a planned rollout. Connecticut has received $ 70 million in CRRSAA funding and expects to receive additional ARP funding of $ 276 million. The CRRSAA funds can be used to provide direct childcare services. Resources, supplies and / or technical assistance; and stabilization grants to support increased operating costs. ARP funds will provide $ 170 million to stabilize the childcare industry and $ 106 million to expand childcare assistance.
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