Gov. Lamont held a press conference in Hartford today to announce the proposal of several initiatives to expand access to childcare services in Connecticut. Last week, the governor presented his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2024-2025 to the General Assembly which contained an increase in funding for Care 4 Kids – the state’s largest childcare program.
Care 4 Kids helps low and moderate-income families pay for childcare costs. Gov. Lamont’s proposal provides $14.2 million in 2024 and $53.3 million in 2025 to support an increase of 10 percent for licensed providers and five percent for unlicensed providers in each year of the next two years.
“Childcare is an absolute necessity because access to these services from an early age is one of the best predictors of a child’s ability to achieve academic success throughout their entire school careers,” Gov. Lamont said. “Additionally, access to childcare enables parents to work and provide for their families while their child is safe and receiving quality care. Increasing access to childcare has been a priority of my administration because the strength of our state is dependent upon the strength of our early childhood programs.”
In addition to the investments in childcare, the governor’s proposal incentivizes employers to help their employees with the cost of childcare by providing businesses with a 25 percent corporation business tax credit for any childcare cost subsidies they provide to their workers. The proposal also provides employers with a 25 percent credit for the cost associated with building new childcare centers.
A recent study found that Connecticut is among the top five most expensive states in the country for child care, costing $15,591 annually. For context, that number is higher than a year’s tuition at any college in the Connecticut State Colleges and University (CSCU) system.
“Access to quality, affordable childcare is essential to a thriving workforce and critical to getting parents back to work,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “Parents deserve to have childcare they can depend on. Childcare is advantageous in preparing children for school, developing social skills, and setting them up to succeed later in life. I am committed to ensuring Connecticut remains the best state to raise a family.”
Gov. Lamont announced last week that he is convening a blue-ribbon panel composed of employers, childcare providers and families that will focus on designing the next generation of childcare. The panel will be led by Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye and will provide incentives for the business community to provide more on-site support and to ensure the childcare system works for all stakeholders.