Commissioner Says Backlog is Not Acceptable as Care4Kids Meeting Draws Large Turnout
Incoming Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye heard heartbreaking story after story from child care providers on the ongoing Care4Kids backlog - mostly home child care providers - at a forum hosted by the CSEA SEIU Child Care Union on February 2. Many in the packed room recounted long waits for payment - some as far back as October - and the painful consequences they are now facing. One provider said her car has been re-possessed and many face overdraft charges from their banks. Commissioner Bye said additional workers have been added to alleviate the backlog and the call center would be open all weekend. She added that certificates would be extended through the computer system, and with the additional workers, Care4Kids is moving two to three times faster now. But those measures don't make up for the current situation, she said.
"It's not acceptable," Commissioner Bye said. "I will do everything in my power to make it better," she said, adding that the legislators in the room, including the chairs of the Education Committee, Human Services Committee, and Children's Committee, will do the same.
Legislators noted they weren't aware of the issue until just a few days before the February 2 meeting. Some were alerted by constituents. That's when they contacted the incoming commissioner, who said she was just finding out as well.
"You're the boots on the ground," said Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, who represents parts of Meriden and Berlin and co-chairs the Human Services Committee. "Don't assume we know about issues. Tell us."
All legislators and the commissioner herself encouraged those in attendance to reach out when there is an issue. Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams, who chairs the Children's Committee, said she would begin educating her fellow senators to the issue when she returned to the Capitol on Monday. But she needs help from the providers, encouraging them to reach out to their own senators and representatives as constituents to alert them to the problem.
"We want to correct this wrong - because it is a wrong," Senator Daugherty Abrams said.
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Alliance Issues 2019 Priorities
The Alliance has created its list of 2019 Priorities and a survey we ask you to take to let us know if you are in agreement.
The Alliance 2019 Priorities:
Improve the Quality of Early Care and Education
- Raise wages of early educators in state-subsidized child care and preschool programs and index them to future increases in the minimum wage.
- Raise Care4Kids payment rates to child care providers to the federally recommended 75th percentile of market
- Ensure parity in funding between various programs providing the same early care and education services
Support Parents in Raising Thriving Children
- Adopt Paid Family Medical Leave
- Require Predictable Work Schedules (with exceptions for industries with legally required staff to client ratios)
- Fix the broken Birth to Three Early Intervention Program
- Adopt Two-Generation Strategies to grow the economy and end poverty
Special Elections Set for Vacated Senate, House Seats
With the departure of three senators (Senators Bye, Larson, and Gerratana) and two representatives (Representatives Albis and Soto), to join the new administration, Governor Lamont has announced the date for the upcoming special elections - Tuesday, February 26. These are seats in the 3rd, 5th, & 6th Senate Districts; and 39th and 99th House Districts. To read Governor Lamont's announcement, click HERE.Read more