HARTFORD, CT -- The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood today announced that it has launched “CTCARES for Family Child Care” to provide support to licensed family child care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond. The initiative is made possible with approximately $830,000 in support from nonprofit organizations, including the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, 4-CT, and other philanthropic groups – and financial support continues to grow.
CTCARES for Family Child Care connects licensed family child care providers with a Family Child Care Network to provide grant funding and other supports to help small, home-based providers keep their business running during this challenging time. Licensed family child care plays a critical role in Connecticut’s economy by providing needed child care so parents can go to work to financially support their family. During the COVID-19 emergency, 61 percent of family child care programs continue to support essential workers.
“Since the start, our state has viewed access to child care as a top priority for health care workers and other frontline workers,” Governor Lamont said. “I’m proud to see yet another effort to support these programs. When parents know their children are cared for, they can focus on doing the job they need to do to save lives.”
“The Office of Early Childhood is grateful to the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative and 4-CT for their support of this initiative,” Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye said. “Family child care providers have continued to support families and children during this public health emergency. This generous gift will bring them much needed supports and sets up a framework to support the family child care industry beyond the pandemic.”
The initiative offers the following services:
- Connecting to a Family Child Care Network: Family Child Care Networks are community entities with expertise working with family child care providers. They offer ongoing support services and resources, which may include professional development, coaching and consultation, business development training, and administrative support to increase the quality and sustainability of the family child care business. Current Networks are All Our Kin, CERCLE, EdAdvance, TEAM, Inc., and the United Way of Western Connecticut, all supported in part or whole by the OEC and private philanthropy. CTCARES for Family Child Care funding will support up to six additional Family Child Care Networks across the state.
- Phone consultations with behavioral health experts: The Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) will provide telephone and/or online opportunities to answer questions regarding social-emotional and behavioral concerns for children ages 0-5. ECCP can also help providers with managing self-care and dealing with stress.
- Access to health consultation: The Connecticut Nurses Association will deliver webinars on health and safety topics related to the COVID-19 emergency in both English and Spanish.
- Access to the Connecticut “Talk It Out Help” Line: A dedicated line for parents and caregivers offers help with the stress and increased needs resulting from caring for children during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Grants to support operational expenses: Providers who choose to participate with one of the Family Child Care Networks will be eligible to apply for funding to support maintaining smaller group sizes, purchasing additional program supplies, and paying for expenses to enable the program to remain open.
“This initiative is another example of state government and philanthropy combining their knowledge and funding to address the critical issue of maintaining child care. It also recognizes family child care centers as essential business enterprises that need to be supported now and going forward,” Carol O’Donnell, Early Childhood Funder Collaborative Executive Director said.
“Providing safe child care to help parents who are hard at work in our state is an essential part of reopening Connecticut,” Ted Yang, co-founder and COO of 4-CT, said. “4-CT is proud to support the CTCARES effort as we continue to deliver on our mission of providing relief to those affected by COVID-19.”
CTCARES is supported by: 4-CT, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, American Savings Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Connecticut Community Foundation, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Grossman Family Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, United Way of Western Connecticut, and Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation. Several other philanthropic entities are finalizing approvals to support CTCARES for Family Child Care.
Information on CTCARES for Family Child Care can be found online at www.ctoec.org/covid-19/ctcares-for-family-child-care.