Thousands of Connecticut families are faced with losing child care.
The families receive subsidies through the state’s Care4Kids child care program to help pay for preschool and after-school programs, but Congress didn’t fully fund the program and that is leaving the state with a $35 million shortfall.
Emily DeMaio teaches preschool at Children’s Lighthouse in Portland. She works full time while going to nursing school and just found out she will no longer qualify for her child care subsidy.
She said child care is "very important, not only to the kids I teach but my own kids, who have been here since 6 weeks and 8 weeks."
"The cuts could be drastic. In order to qualify, parents would have to work for less than minimum wage, or reduce their hours and even quit their job all together.
"With the income she and her fiancé make, they will not qualify for the program. I would have to pay her $7.50 an hour to qualify. I can't do that because of the minimum wage increase,” said Stacy Soracchi, owner of Children’s Lighthouse.
Soracchi said it is a tough break for parents and for her, as she said she will lose 10 families.
A lack of federal funding has left Connecticut with a $35 million hole.
"This came out after the budget was passed and now we've got this huge problem for all of these families who are going to lose child care,” said Merrill Gay, of the Connecticut Childhood Alliance.
For a family of four, income eligibility was $53,000, and now it is $31,000. For a family of three, it was $44,000 and now it is $26,000.
This will impact 4,500 families and 6,000 children.
"I would either have to leave work and stay home --- or find a more affordable child care ---but less quality,” DeMaio said.
Care4Kids is run through the United Way, which gets funding from the state.
The Connecticut Childhood Alliance said it will hold meetings around the state with legislators, where they can hear from parents on how this will hurt them.
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