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Childcare Crisis Averted For Many Who Use Care4Kids Subsidy In Connecticut

Chantel, a single mother of three, tells her story at a Bridgeport legislative forum, while Kenya Moales-Bird, director of Kingdom's Little Ones, looks on.
Chantel, a single mother of three, tells her story at a Bridgeport legislative forum, while Kenya Moales-Bird, director of Kingdom's Little Ones, looks on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

NORWALK, Conn. — Over 4,450 families using Care4Kids subsidies to pay for childcare have gotten a reprieve.

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood announced that the families will not be cut off from the program as of July 1, as originally planned because of budget cuts.

However, the program will not accept most new applicants as of Aug. 1, said Jessica Ciparelli, communications specialist for the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, which has strongly opposed the decision to lower income requirements on the program.

Parents, childcare providers and advocates will meet with legislators Tuesday to discuss the impact of planned program eligibility changes for working families. The public is welcome to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m. at South Norwalk Community Center, 98 S. Main St., Norwalk.

About 150 parents and childcare providers implored state and local leaders to preserve the state childcare subsidy program at a Bridgeport legislative forum last week.

Those gathered said changes by the state in eligibility rules would leave an estimated 4,450 families — about 6,100 children — ineligible for the Care4Kids program beginning July 1.

“Is this the American Dream?” said Chantel, a single mother of three who sobbed as she told her story to the group. “You’re forcing us into homelessness and poverty.”

Chantel, who declined to give her last name, said she is a college graduate who has been working full time for 16 years. She said she might have to quit her job to care for her children this summer because her mother, who is disabled, cannot watch all three of them all day.

“What is supposed to happen to them?” said Chantel.

Care4Kids now offers financial assistance to working parents whose income is 50 percent of the state median income or lower. Under the new state budget, the cutoff was to drop to 30 percent, making many families already using the program ineligible for the funding.

New applicants who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), former TANF recipients within the last five years, and teen parents who are 18 and 19 years of age, will not be impacted by the closure.

For more information on the meeting and the state eligibility changes, call 2-1-1 or 1-800-505-1000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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