Childcare Initiative Earns Strong Support

April 16, 2024

Legislation aiming to improve the access and affordability of childcare for Connecticut families is gaining growing support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Deputy Majority Leader Kate Farrar, who represents West Hartford and Newington, said "An Act Concerning Early Childhood Care and Education (HB 5002)" seeks to maximize public and private investment in early childhood care and education through the Early Childhood Care and Education Fund previously created by the legislature.

Early Childhood Care

Specifically the bill establishes the Early Childhood Care and Education Fund Advisory Commission, which will develop a strategic plan for the next 10 years. The commission will also make recommendations for investments in early childhood and education and provide reports on the financial status of the fund.

"I hear from families about the childcare crisis in my district and I know I am not alone. The cost is too high, dedicated educators can’t pay their own bills, and depending on where you live in our state, access to care can be impossible," said Rep. Farrar. "Quality and affordable childcare isn’t just essential for families but it is the infrastructure we need for our workforce and economy to thrive. By investing in the critical early years of a child’s development, we will not only see a return on that investment but build a more equitable state for generations to come.”

Last week, the legislation was the subject of a public hearing before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and was lauded by many who testified including the Connecticut Business & Industry Assoc. and the non-profit Connecticut Voices for Children.

The bill also proposes the Tri-Share Child Care Program. This innovative pilot program, implemented in Michigan and North Carolina, shares childcare costs among an employer, employees, and the state government.

"By prioritizing early childhood care and education, we're not merely ensuring our children's well-being; we're fortifying economic opportunities for more Connecticut families," said Speaker of the House Matt Ritter of Hartford. "This legislation is a top priority for the House, and together, we can pave the way for a brighter, fairer future for all."