New program to support at-home childcare providers

New program to help at-home childcare providers
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 7:29 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A new program is helping provide more support to at-home childcare providers.

This will help more families in Connecticut.

“When I started as a provider coming from the classroom I felt really pigeonholed and not being able to touch base with other providers,” said Cureene Blake, owner of Aalia and Ricardo Family Childcare.

Blake has been a licensed at-home childcare provider for 10 years.

“We are early childhood educators. We are the people who work with mothers and fathers, aunts and grandfathers to empower them and assure them that they are their children’s first teacher,” said Blake.

The state of Connecticut is expanding the supports given to licensed home childcare providers.

That includes connecting caregivers to community resources and coaching through a regional hub.

“We know that to reach families in childcare deserts, to help with issues like transportation and access to childcare, that family childcare is a big part of that solution,” said Beth Bye, Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood.

The city of Hartford, which had previously overseen 70 providers in the city, will now help manage relationships for 400 at-home childcare providers in the region.

“These providers do vital work providing early childhood education, early childhood experience and care for kids throughout our city. They also provide vital resources to parents to families who need to work,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

The statewide program will provide technical and administrative supports.

Individual municipalities previously had to manage their own support services for at-home childcare providers.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to strengthen a two-generation approach to early learning,” said Kristina Baldwin with the Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation.

The program will be overseen by the United Way of Connecticut’s 211 Child Care.

United Way is contributing about $575,000 over three years.