Report: Fewer families get help from state for day care

daycare and preschool seats

Source: CT Voices for Children

The number of families the state helped to cover the cost of preschool or day care decreased by nearly 600 infants and toddlers between fiscal 2012 and 2013, a state child-advocacy group reported Friday.

The decrease follows the highly touted initiative approved by state legislators and the governor that funded spots for 1,000 more children in preschool programs across the state starting in fiscal 2013.

While funding was added to increase enrollment at the school-based School Readiness programs, the state’s Care4Kids program was cut, when adjusted for inflation. Care4Kids provides child care subsidies for low-income families to enroll their children in either day care centers, home-based programs or school-based programs.

“The state continues to underserve our youngest children,” the report concludes.

By the group’s tally, total state funding for early care and education decreased by $4.2 million between the fiscal years that ended June 2012 and June 2013, after taking inflation into account.

In his recent federal Race to the Top application, the governor stressed the importance of state funding for early care needing to be used to give providers an incentive to offer higher-quality education programs.

However, the state did not win the federal funding to implement that initiative. As a result, Voices for Children points out, no one knows if the state’s investments are paying off.

“Connecticut still lacks longitudinal data to determine whether children who receive state subsidies for early care and education have better education outcomes than their similarly situated peers,” the group reports.