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Connecticut's child care providers will get payments of up to $1,000

New study shows child care centers don't necessarily hire the most qualified teachers.
Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury
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New study shows child care centers don't necessarily hire the most qualified teachers.

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that employees of child care providers in Connecticut will soon receive wage support payments from the state. The Lamont administration will be releasing $70 million in state funding to provide these support payments in an initiative called Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators.

The initiative is carried out by the state Office of Early Childhood and the United Way of Connecticut. Full-time child care workers will receive up to $1,000, while part-time workers will receive $400.

Lamont said these support payments are a way for Connecticut to show gratitude for the service of child care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[It’s] a place where people respect our values,” he said. “Respect the fact that we prioritize the kids and our commitment to day care and child care is one way to say that and maybe that’s one of many reasons that tens of thousands of young families are moving into the state of Connecticut. To take care of their kids in a way that they know we care about them and make sure that they feel at home in the most family friendly state of the country.”

Karen Lott, executive director of Women’s League Child Development Center in Hartford, said while she appreciates these bonuses — given to eligible staff educators — she said she believes that early child care workers still need more support. She said the child care industry has been hard hit with the low pay and staffing shortages.

“We need solutions from the governor to create an infrastructure that supports the ability of the early childhood industry to provide us with good solid annual wages and earnings,” Lott said.

According to asurvey by Child Care for Connecticut’s Future, about 10% of the early childhood workforce in the state haven't returned since the start of the pandemic. Advocates blame this on the $13 per hour wages for these kinds of jobs. However, the survey also found that 75% of respondents support the state increasing funding of early childhood educators to be paid at least the same as public school teachers.

To receive a bonus, child care providers must apply for the funds and then disburse the payments to their child care staff. Staff eligible for these bonuses are those who work in licensed centers, group child care homes, and family child care homes, as well as license-exempt programs that still receive funding for school readiness.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.