May 2009

Connecticut Early Care and Education Progress Report, 2009

Cyd Oppenheimer, J.D.

This report on the state of early care and education in the state finds that child care remains an unaffordable expense for many working families. However, Connecticut's overall investment in early care and education programs has declined over this decade. The state spent 12% less in inflation-adjusted dollars on early care and education programs in 2008 than it did in 2002.The state has made some progress in expanding funding for early care programs since 2004, but potential state budget cuts could quickly undo this progress.

Connecticut's progress has been uneven between age groups. Three- and four-year-olds have benefited from an expansion of the pre-kindergarten School Readiness program; however, infants and toddlers have not seen a similar improvement in the availability, cost, or quality of early care, despite a wealth of scientific data about the importance of the first thousand days of life.

Connecticut's planning and coordination of its early childhood education system is inadequate. The state of Connecticut lacks a public structure with the authority or responsibility to coordinate efforts to ensure that children and parents have access to high-quality and affordable child care and early education. Finally, children from affluent communities continue to outperform children from poor communities.

Issue Area:
Early Care