Governor Proposes $43.3 Million Increase for Next Fiscal Year, on Top of the $45 Million Increase Approved in the Current Budget

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is asking the Connecticut General Assembly to approve a $43.4 million increase in funding to support the expansion of early childhood education services statewide when they vote on the fiscal year 2025 state budget in the coming weeks. This proposed increase will come on top of the $45 million increase for early childhood education that was approved last year in the fiscal year 2024 and 2025 biennial budget.

The expansion of early childhood education has been a high priority for Governor Lamont, noting that it is not only needed to give a head start and improve educational outcomes for children, but it also supports parents in their own ability to seek employment. Since he first took office, funding in the state budget for early childhood education has increased from $214.1 million in 2019 to $404.5 million in the proposed fiscal year 2025 budget – an 88.9% increase.

“Expanding access to early childhood education has numerous benefits that include not only supporting children but uplifting entire families and improving economic outcomes,” Governor Lamont said. “Child care access is an investment with payoffs that reverberate. Investments in high-quality child care help optimize children’s brain development and long-term physical and emotional health, as well as their educational achievements. It also supports the economic growth of our state, helping businesses recruit and retain workers. These are some of the best investments we can make to ensure that Connecticut is the most family-friendly state in the country.”

Governor Lamont’s fiscal year 2025 budget adjustment proposal was informed by the work of the Connecticut Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Care, which he established last year and tasked with developing a five-year strategic plan to design the next generation of child care in Connecticut.

The proposed $43.4 million will be used for a broad range of investments, most notably an increase in Care 4 Kids, which helps low to moderate-income families pay for the costs of child care. It will also fund a tri-share pilot program in Eastern Connecticut to support more child care options for families with direct engagement of the business community.

As part of the plan, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, led by Commissioner Beth Bye, will also apply $12.5 million in federal Child Care and Development Fund dollars to increase access to Care 4 Kids.

“As we work to enhance the early childhood workforce, these rate increases, coupled with ongoing stabilization payments will help lift compensation for the field,” Commissioner Bye said. “The proposal to simplify the state’s early childhood teacher credential, coupled with apprenticeship and workforce pipeline programs will help expand the workforce over the next three years.”

Governor Lamont and Commissioner Bye today visited Hyland Early Learning Center in Hartford to highlight these plans. The child care center – which provides high-quality child care to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with the support of School Readiness, Child Day Care, and Care 4 Kids funds – is one of many early childhood education providers that will directly benefit from the increase in funding.

“Our center provides a critical service to children and families living in Hartford, thanks to the state and federal funds that make this possible,” Jennifer Baglin, director of the Hyland Early Learning Center, said. “Governor Lamont’s commitment to increase state support for Connecticut’s early care and education system is a lifeline for our families.”

The governor’s budget proposal is currently being considered by the legislature’s Appropriations Committee.

By Alex

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