$120 Million in Federal Funding Aims to Help Stabilize CT Child Care Programs

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For the last year, the lights inside one classroom at the Meriden YMCA Child Care Center have remained off as the facility faced a dramatic drop in enrollment.

“A lot of families stopped coming here because of various reasons, it might’ve been because they lost their job and they can’t afford it,” Branch Director Steve Markoja said.

Markoja says the facility has five classrooms but there haven’t been enough kids to fill them. On Wednesday there was hope in the hallways as state leaders announced $120 million in federal stabilization funds for every licensed child care program in Connecticut.

State leaders say Connecticut has been projected to lose 40,000 child care spots without extra support. The money is part of the $6 billion coming to the state as part of the American Rescue Plan. The dollars will help stabilize the stricken 4,000 child care homes and centers.

“They can be used to pay some of the deficits the program suffered during the pandemic, they can be used for extra costs they experienced during the pandemic, it can be used to take the place of lost revenue,” Beth Bye, commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood said.

Markoja says the $171,000 the Meriden facility will receive will help them get their footing and back on stable ground.

“Helping to get more children back into the programs as well as running different programs that maybe we had to stop because of the pandemic,” Markoja said.

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