Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced an agreement Thursday that will provide the first general wage increase in a dozen years for family child care providers under Connectiut Care 4 Kids for program, a deal he helped set in motion with an controversial executive order enabling union representation of the providers.

The agreement, which provides for rate increases of three percent over four years, is subject to approval by the union, CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, and a vote of the General Assembly.

“This is another sign of our commitment to raise the level of quality in child care settings, and increase opportunities for young children to be in safe and healthy learning environments that encourage learning,” Malloy said. “By increasing wages and providing professional development opportunities for Care 4 Kids home-based family child care providers, we are investing in our children and those who care for them.”

The effort to unionize the day-care providers began in 2005 and was helped by the  executive order issued in September 2011 by Malloy. The order outlined the process for family child care workers to elect a union to represent them in non-binding discussions that could include compensation, training, the quality and availability of family child care, and improving recruitment and retention of child care providers.

Malloy issued a similar order affecting personal care attendants who work for seniors and people with disabilities and who are paid through state programs. Both orders have drawn opposition from critics who say Malloy overstepped his authority, although much of the criticism has been centered on the order for personal care attendants.

“This contract represents a shift in public policy that will help provide much needed resources for our state’s low income children and the providers who care for them,” said Patrice Peterson, the president of the union, in a statement issued by the governor’s office. “This is a real investment that will be instrumental to closing the achievement gap between Connecticut’s low-income students and their peers.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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