(WTNH) – Rallies are taking place at eight locations across Connecticut on Tuesday to draw attention to the crisis in childcare.

The rally called A Morning Without Childcare is highlights programs across the state being short-staffed. Childcare programs across the state will open late on Tuesday so that families and staff can participate in the rallies.

“Today, families are still struggling to afford their family fees. Childcare educators like yourselves have to take on a second and third job to make ends meet,” said Marina Rodriguez, Senior Director of All Our Kin in New Haven.

The Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children says programs across the state are so short-staffed that classrooms are closed despite waiting lists of children.

“The system we operate in is broke. Families pay too much. Educators make too little and programs can barely stay open, and we are here today because decision-makers are not here to help us yet,” said Ally Schiavone, Executive Director of the Friends Center for Children.

The coalition wants $700 million for raises, health coverage, financial help for families, scholarships, and new facilities. The pandemic has heightened these issues, forcing more than 50 percent of centers to close, according to the alliance.

“Childcare should not be something that families navigate alone. Affordable idea settings for our children are a social and collective responsibility. We need change and we need it now. We need 700 million dollars invested in childcare and we need it now,” said Rodriguez said.

The rallies took place in New Haven, New Britain, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New London, Stratford, Stamford, and Danbury.

Next week, there’s a hearing on a bill that the coalition is hoping lawmakers will support.