Governor Lamont announced on Thursday that his administration is releasing $70 million in state funding to distribute bonus payments to the workers who provide care for the state’s infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The individual bonuses will amount to $1,000 for full-time workers and $400 for part-time workers.
The initiative, known as Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators, was included as part of the state budget bill Gov. Lamont signed into law earlier this year with the goal of showing appreciation for the service of the state’s childcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is being administered by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) with assistance from the United Way of Connecticut.
“We understand and appreciate how hard early childhood educators are working for our children and deserve to be applauded and rewarded for their dedication,” Beth Bye, OEC Commissioner, said. “Their work is both critical in nature and highly valued by families in Connecticut, and these wage supports will help child care program directors recruit and retain staff.”
Those eligible for the one-time payment include workers in licensed centers, group childcare homes and family childcare homes, as well as license-exempt programs that receive school readiness or child day care contract funds. The operators of childcare programs must apply for the funds and will be responsible for distributing the payments to their staff. The operators will also receive funding of 10 percent of their staff payments to support supplemental staff benefits and administrative processing costs.
“Child care staff work consistently to provide critically needed care to ensure that children are safe and their parents and guardians have the support necessary to go to work,” Governor Lamont said. “They are an essential part of our economy and help make Connecticut the most family-friendly state in the country. We need to support this important industry that is vital to families, the workplace, and society.”
The OEC is contacting eligible childcare program operators today to provide them with information and instructions on how they can apply for the funds.