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New Haven dedicates $3.5 million to early childhood education

CERCLE’s co-founder Georgia Goldburn.
Molly Ingram
CERCLE’s co-founder Georgia Goldburn.

New Haven’s early child care sector is getting a $3.5 million boost. It’s in an effort to make child care more accessible in the city.

According to the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, New Haven needs 2,200 spots in daycare and Pre-K programs.

Mayor Justin Elicker (D) said the city is dedicating more money than any other Connecticut municipality to that cause.

“I think that's something that we can be really proud of,” Elicker said. “And that is both because we believe in it, but also because of the advocacy.”

The $3.5 million is from the American Rescue Plan, and the funding is split into three categories.

$1.4 million will expand and improve early childhood care programs, $1.6 million will expand and support the sector's workforce and $500,000 will go toward strategic planning for the future.

United Way of Greater New Haven is the lead partner for the $1.4 million and $500,000 sections of the grants.

The $1.4 million to expand care programs will improve existing facilities. Licensed family child care homes, small group homes and child care centers in the city are eligible. They will be able to use the money for new supplies, health and safety upgrades and more.

The application for that section of the grant opens on Nov. 6 and closes on Dec. 4. More information is here.

The lead partner for the $1.6 million grant is CERCLE. It’s a nonprofit alliance of more than 40 early child care education businesses that focuses on improving outcomes for underserved kids.

CERCLE’s co-founder Georgia Goldburn said the money can be used for training courses, attending conferences and more.

“There's no greater testament to one's value than where we place our investment,” Goldburn said. “And New Haven has invested $1.6 million over the next three years to improve the outcome of teachers in the classroom, by ensuring that they have access to professional development training opportunities.”

Applications for those grants open on Oct. 30 and close on Dec. 10. More information is here.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.