June 2019

Connecticut's Early Care and Education for Infants and Toddlers in Crisis

Wendy Waithe Simmons, Ph.D.

Connecticut families need and deserve a strong and reliable early care and education system. When families have access to high-quality early care and education, their children are ensured a strong start in life and parents are available to contribute to the workforce. Yet, the current system does not have enough child care for families who seek care. Much of that care is unaffordable and some is of questionable quality.

Low reimbursement rates impact the number of providers willing to accept families who require the subsidy. There are more young children needing child care than there are spots available.

The high cost of child care is burdensome to many low and moderate-income families. Approximately 80 percent of all child care in the state is not subsidized. Too many families do not earn enough money to afford quality child care without the support of a child care subsidy. This is particularly true of care for infants and toddlers, which is the most expensive to provide and most difficult to find.

The value of early care and education hinges on it being of high-quality, and teachers are crucial elements in developing high-quality programs. However, one of the greatest threats to quality is wages for early childhood educators, who are among the lowest paid professionals in our state.

Policies that support families with young children must include continued investments in the Care 4 Kids subsidy program to ensure Connecticut:

  • Has adequate availability of high-quality subsidized child care to support parents who are seeking care for their infants and toddlers and cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs;
  • Expands the eligibility requirements;
  • Supports families by increasing reimbursement to providers;
  • Supports ECE educators by promoting policies to increase wages for all early childhood providers; and
  • Offers an incentivized pathway for early childhood educators to obtain further education and remain in the ECE field.
Issue Area:
Early Care