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About Early Care and Education Issues

Key Issues | Key publications & testimony  | Related resources

Key issues

  • Investing in the first five years of children’s lives benefits the children, their parents, and society at large.  High quality caring and learning environments in the early years – starting at birth – are necessary if children are to be ready to enter school at age five.  Studies have shown that the most effective early childhood programs can yield returns to society for each early dollar invested of up to $17.  The high cost of quality care for young children, however, makes it unaffordable for most low-income and many middle-income families.  Too many parents are forced to go to work without the assurance that their children are in safe, nurturing, and educational settings.
  • The state’s strong commitment to systems building and improvement has not been accompanied by funding for this system.  Though Connecticut has publicly recognized these many advantages of investing in early care and education, and has begun constructing an admirable framework to ensure that its children make timely developmental progress from birth to age five, its funding for early care and education remains insufficient to make this goal a reality.  Indeed, despite a professed commitment among policymakers to expand early care and education opportunities, overall state funding for early care (adjusted for inflation) is lower than it was in 2002.
  • Connecticut’s patchwork of early care and education programs needs reform to create a coordinated and comprehensive system. Connecticut’s publicly-funded early care and education programs rely on multiple funding streams controlled by multiple agencies with varied reporting and eligibility and data requirements.  This creates confusion and complications for both providers and parents.
  • Connecticut is not serving many of the children who need help.  Despite the need for child care from working families struggling through the recession, over 86% of infants and toddlers, and at least 25% of preschoolers living in struggling families (families earning under 75% of the state median income) remain unserved by any state or federal subsidy for early care and education.
  • We must increase funding for early care and education to ensure that children have access to quality programs.  At the present time there are insufficient funds in place for quality improvement: the technical training and professional development that will enable all early care and education settings to provide quality care.  Without these funds, low-rated programs simply won’t improve and young children will pay the price.

 

Key publications & legislative testimony

See all of our early care and education publications

 

Related resources

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