Many Connecticut child care facilities could disappear as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Parents already had a limited amount of licensed care slots available to them before COVID-19. And now, a national study finds that about 46,000 Connecticut children could lose out on day care as providers run out of money.
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Hardship has already forced some day cares to close.
For others that remain open, they deal with limited attendance as parents keep kids at home and the additional expense of virus mitigation equipment and procedures.
Beth Bye, commissioner of the state Office of Early Childhood, said Thursday that through local and federal grants, OEC has provided $110 million to public and private child care facilities since March.
“Most of those funds run out this month, and so then, centers are looking at ‘now what?’” she said. “‘Now what happens after we’ve exhausted the federal relief funds and the state child care funds?’ How are programs going to stay open?”
Bye wants help from the federal government, mostly because an OEC survey indicates that many parents plan to keep kids home for six more months.
She’s got an ally in Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who says his colleagues in Congress need to earmark $10 billion to help American child care providers.
“Child care is more than just a good thing that we should aspire to do because we care about children, we’re big-hearted, we’re humanitarian -- it’s an economic necessity,” he said at a Hartford briefing.
According to Bye, the state now has 41% of its pre-COVID-19 child care supply -- up from three weeks ago when it was just 16%.