Governor Lamont Announces $70 Million Distributed for Bonus Payments to Child Care Workers
State Completes Final Phase of Child Care Wage Support Payments
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood has completed the distribution of $70 million in state funding that was allocated by the governor and the state legislature in the most recently enacted state budget for bonus payments to the staff of child care and early childhood education providers statewide in Connecticut.
The initiative, known as Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators, is intended to help stabilize the child care industry and support its workforce, which has historically been underpaid across the nation. Governor Lamont has been eager to uplift this essential workforce with the goal of retaining staff in childcare centers and homes. Approximately 21,000 early childhood educators and staff statewide are receiving the bonus payments.
“Early childhood educators and staff are an essential part of our communities and help make Connecticut the most family-friendly state in the country,” Governor 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.”
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. 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 includes 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,” Commissioner Bye said. “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.”
Governor Lamont and Commissioner Bye today visited Bloomfield Preschool and Childcare Center, one of the many providers in the state that are receiving funding for their staff under this initiative, where they held a news conference to announce the distribution of this funding.
“The wage support grant is a step in the right direction and signifies to us, as early childhood educators, that the state of Connecticut appreciates the hard work that we do every day for our children, families, and communities,” Jessica Salvador, director of the Bloomfield Preschool and Childcare Center, said. “Most important, it demonstrates that the State of Connecticut values the importance of early childhood education.”
For more information about the Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators initiative, visit www.ctoec.org/wage-supports-for-early-childhood-educators.