Childcare industry gets financial boost, workers get COVID booster

Connecticut

DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Friday in Danbury, a special clinic for 200-daycare workers took place. The child care industry has struggled to get back on its feet.

Thalia Boni is a daycare worker at the Sand Box Day Care in Danbury. She used to work at an after shool program but got laid off. “I started working at a daycare. We got laid off because of the coronavirus.”

Boni got her first COVID shot. It’s a step in the right direction for a struggling child care industry .

“Parents stopped putting them in for a while, now they’re coming back,” said Boni.

Around the state, enrollment is down 30 percent. Officials say parents were laid off and some chose to work remotely.

Commissioner Beth Bye from the State’s Office of Early Childhood says, “Families are making choices. It’s a tremendous strain on them.”

The State’s Office of Early Childhood Commissioner says some centers have closed. 2,000 have survived.

“Half of the centers in Connecticut whether directors or managers have been putting expenses on personal credit cards to stay open.”

Connecticut will receive $276 million from the American Rescue Plan. $170 million for daycare providers, $100 million for families. That’s on top of CARES Act money and another round of federal aid approved in December.

Gov. Lamont announced he’s authorizing $8 million to waive the parent fee for working poor families who receive “Care 4 Kids,” a subsidy for daycare.

The waiver is applied for the next six months. Commissioner Bye admits, “It’s a big deal for families who are so stressed.”

And daycare workers like Thalia who miss the kids. “I’m happy things are getting better. All providers will get shots. It’s really important.”

Beginning Monday, the Office of Early Childhood inspectors will be personally calling all daycare providers around the state to make sure they received a text on their phone and an email link about vaccine clinics for their workers.

All in an effort to help the industry survive. Providers can find more information here.

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