Weekly News July 15, 2019

Big Announcement: Rate Increases for Care4Kids Program

Wednesday morning, the CT Office of Early Childhood announced the first substantial Care4Kids center-based provider rate increase since 2002. Effective September 1, 2019, center-based infant/toddler care rates will increase to the 50th percentile of the market. Preschool rates will increase to the 25th percentile of the market. The dollar amounts of these rate increases vary across the five regions, based on the market cost of care. In the North Central region (Greater Hartford) that includes the most children, the rate for full-time infant/toddler care will increase form $201 per week to $308 per week. The rate for full-time preschool care will increase from $160 to $203 per week. The impact of all this is that parents will have more options for care where they won't have to pay the difference between the tuition cost and the value of the Care4Kids subsidy. In addition to the center-based rate increase, family child care homes also got raises negotiated under the collective bargaining agreement between OEC and CSEA SEIU-2001.

The rate adjustment has three major benefits: 1) gives parents, particularly those with infants, better buying power and access to child care options; 2) helps stabilize child care providers financially, many of whom are small business owners; 3) and enhances the ability for child care centers to improve the quality of care for developing minds.

The rates are being increased at the scale necessary to respond to federal requirements to provide greater choice and access to families. The federal government requires 25th percentile for rates and recommends 75th percentile. Connecticut is making great strides with the news today, moving infant/toddler care from the 2nd percentile to the 50th percentile and preschool from the 7th percentile to 25th percentile. Ultimately, this means less out-of-pocket expense for parents and a more economic stability for child care providers. 

The OEC has updated its rate table (increase is effective as of September 1). It can be found HERE. CT Newsjunkie, CT-N, and WFSB all covered the announcement.

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Weekly News July 8, 2019

Fate of ACA Looms in the Balance, as Appeals Court Hears Arguments

A federal appeals court in New Orleans started hearing arguments in Texas v. United States, which could dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. If it's overturned, the impact on the State of Connecticut, especially when it comes to Medicaid, could be chilling. Protect Our Care CT has put out a press release, a by-the-numbers look at the impact, and a national fact sheet to help people understand the repercussions. Please share this information with your networks. NPR also has a good article on the topic. Click HERE to read more.

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Weekly News July 1, 2019

Paid Leave and Budget Signed by Governor

On Tuesday, June 25, Governor Lamont gathered with a standing room-only crowd in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol, to sign the Paid Family and Medical Leave legislation into law. "It's about time," Governor Lamont said, right before he signed the bill into law. After signing it, he added, "Long overdue - we got it done."

The Campaign for Paid Family and Medical Leave put out a great resource to answer any questions you may have regarding the new program. It can be found HERE.

The day after signing PFML into law, Governor Lamont signed the two year, $43 billion budget. As noted previously, this is how early childhood fared:

  • Care4Kids - Federal funds will be used to raise rates to at least the 25th percentile of the market, $5 million increase in state funds in the second year of the budget. It is still unclear if center-based infant-toddler rates will go higher.
  • Parity for CDCs with School Readiness programs
  • School Readiness and CDCs $100 per child/year increase (~1%) in second year of the budget
  • Diaper assistance - $500,000 grant to The Diaper Bank to provide more diapers to families in need
  • Money for background checks through October 1
  • Raising the eligibility limit to restore HUSKY coverage to 4,000 parents
  • Birth to Three line item increased by $1.4 million in FY20 and an additional $606,443 in FY21 to reflect the increase in caseload
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