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Connecticut group calls on policy makers to expand benefits for immigrant and refugee families

Jessica Hill

The number of licensed early care and education centers in Connecticut decreased by 12.4% last year, according to a 100-page report released by Connecticut Voices for Children.

Emily Byrne, the group's executive director, said rising costs due to inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a greater demand for state policy makers to expand universal child care benefits.

“It’s expensive for families and yet providers are underpaid,” Byrne said. “It’s essential infrastructure for our economy, but it’s not resourced as such.”

Byrne also said the expansion is critical because immigrant and refugee families have been locked out of public systems and services due to the lack of licensed universal child care centers.

She added that policy makers should work to increase the number of people of color and immigrants who serve as providers.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.