Child care workers get bonus payments from the state

Gov. Lamont announced 70 million dollars in state funding has been distributed to roughly 21,000 child care workers.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:54 AM EDT|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 12:21 PM EDT
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BLOOMFIELD, CT (WFSB) - Child care workers have received a little extra boost from the state.

Gov. Ned Lamont participated in a news conference at a preschool in Bloomfield Wednesday to announce the completion of bonus payments for staff of child care and early childhood education providers.

Gov. Ned Lamont and Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye announced bonus payments for staff of child care and early childhood education providers.

About 21,000 early childhood educators and staff statewide received the payments.

Lamont said he and the General Assembly included $70 million in the most recently enacted state budget for the payments, which were intended to help stabilize the child care industry and support its workforce.

The initiative was labeled Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators.

“Early childhood educators and staff are an essential part of our communities and help make Connecticut the most family-friendly state in the country,” Lamont said. “These workers not only provide safe and nurturing care to our youngest infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, they are a major part of developing their abilities to expand their education skills as they get older, and they enable parents and guardians to obtain their own employment to support their families. Child care is critical to our workforce and economy. We must support this important industry that is so vital to families, the workplace, and society.”

Lamont said the Office of Early Childhood, with technical and customer support from the United Way of Connecticut, distributed the funding in two phases. The first phase totaled $15 million and was completed in the fall of 2022. The second and final phase totaled $55 million and completed this month.

The governor said payments were made by the state to the operators of the child care and early childhood education providers, which had to apply for the funding and then are responsible for distributing the bonus payments to their staff.

The final phase included a guaranteed per-person bonus payment based on the hours child care staff work. Full-time employees receive a $1,700 base payment and part-time employees receive a $650 base payment. Staff and programs can receive additional funds based on meeting specific criterial, such as certain Office of Early Childhood licensing, accreditation, and program participation in the Care 4 Kids program.

“Connecticut recognizes that the early care and education workforce is a vital part of our education and workforce system,” said commissioner Beth Bye. “They support our youngest learners and their families every day. These funds are designed to help to retain early education staff and enhance their wages that are well below other education professionals.”