(The Center Square) – Two child care experts in Connecticut said part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is stabilizing the child care industry.
During a meeting with Beth Bye, head of the Office of Early Childhood, and Gov. Ned Lamont, Bye addressed how the child care industry has survived through the pandemic. Dr. David Morgan, chief executive officer of Team Inc., and Dr. Monette Ferguson, executive director of Alliance for Community Empowerment, discussed how they navigated their companies through the pandemic.
Bye said that remaining open during the pandemic was crucial to “allowing parents to go to work and provide education for kids to get them ready for school.”
“We were fortunate to get funding from CARES, coronavirus relief, and ARPA,” Bye said. “We worked to get funds out as quick as possible. We lost less than 1% of licensed child care capacity and centers because of those efforts to provide stabilization.”
Bye then praised child care providers for “incredibly hard work” for staying open amid workforce challenges, enrollment changes, and all the “anxieties coming with the pandemic and working with children.”
Morgan said he talked to the governor about realities surrounding the industry as the pandemic in 60 days will hit the two-year mark. He said the pair discussed the labor shortage, capacity and funding models.
“Child care works so people can work,” Morgan said. “The pandemic has shined a light on that. Child care can’t go on the backs of families. Funding needs to be addressed, and it is going to require funding and federal investment. There won’t be an economic recovery without child care.”
Ferguson said the nation is entering “year three of a pandemic we probably thought would end overnight,” while saying her organization continued to serve the vulnerable population and learned lessons very day while working with the Office of Early Childhood.
Lamont said the state has “another year or so” of resources. He said he is looking into subsidizing child care for families, while giving pay increases to workers.