About the Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Care

Background: Current challenges to child care in Connecticut

The Early Childhood Care and Education system is challenged by issues such as access, affordability, and quality. 

  • Parents don’t have access to the care they need at a price they can afford. They may struggle to work productively while their children are missing out on high-quality early education.
  • The current market prices for child care are lower than the actual cost of quality child care — this depresses provider wages and reduces quality.
  • Like other states, Connecticut is experiencing significant workforce shortages in the Early Care and Education sector due to low wages.

However, Connecticut is highly ranked as a great place for families. The state can build on this foundation with a strong Child Care and Education plan. Connecticut can enhance family-friendliness, attracting and retaining more families.

Our process

Commissioner Beth Bye of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) led the work. The Hunt Institute offered deep expertise around planning processes, based on experience working with other states. SVP Connecticut and other consultants also supported the planning process.

Planning was divided across four work groups:

  • Equity and Access
  • Workforce and Quality
  • Systems
  • Funding and Costs

Work groups made recommendations to the Panel, whose members provided critical review and offered feedback on emerging plans. Recommendations were informed by the input of stakeholders and advisors, leveraging current initiatives in Connecticut and best practices from other geographies.

The Early Childhood Cabinet, the OEC Parent Cabinet, and the OEC External Steering Committee were essential partners, providing expertise, input, and feedback.

Graphic showing the process of the Blue Ribbon's process, from 1. sharing draft recommendations, 2. soliciting input, 3. summarizing, sharing, and analyzing feedback, and 4. revising recommendations.

Advisory groups

Throughout the process, the Panel relied on the expertise of several key advisory groups.

OEC External Committee members

  • Emily Byrne
    Connecticut Voices for Children

  • Julie Clark
    Child Care for Connecticut’s Future

  • Michelle Doucette Cunningham
    Connecticut Children’s Collective

  • Dr. Monette Ferguson
    Governor’s Workforce Council

  • Merrill Gay
    Executive Director, CT Early Childhood Alliance

  • Johnta Gatling-Marshall
    Parent Ambassador

  • Bryan Klimkiewicz
    Coordinator, State Department of Education Part B 619

  • Katherine Lantigua
    President, CSEA Family Child Care Union

  • Karen Lott
    Executive Director, Women’s League Child Development Center

  • Marinda Monfilston
    Member, OEC Parent Cabinet

  • Mary Peniston
    Early Childhood Funder Collaborative

  • Jessica Sager
    All Our Kin

  • Allyx Schiavone
    Child Care for Connecticut’s Future

  • Eva Bermúdez Zimmerman
    Child Care for Connecticut’s Future

OEC Parent Cabinet

Learn more about the OEC Parent Cabinet.

Early Childhood Cabinet

Learn more about the Early Childhood Cabinet.

    • Caroline Austin
      Parent, Hartford, CT

    • Andrea Barton Reeves
      Commissioner, Department of Social Services

    • Cathy Battista
      Director, Meriden Family Resource Center

    • Eva Bermudez
      CSEA/SEIU Local 2001

    • Eliot Brenner
      Klingenstein Philanthropies

    • Patricia Bryant-Beausoliel
      Director, Putnam Family Resource Center and Early Childhood Coordinator

    • Ruth-Ann Bucknor

    • Beth Bye
      Commissioner, OEC

    • Susan Bysiewicz
      Lieutenant Governor, State of Connecticut

    • Terrence Cheng
      President, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

    • Vannessa Dorantes
      Commissioner, Department of Children and Families

    • Julie Giaccone
      CCDF Administrator, OEC

    • Kiobenit Grullon
      Family Child Care Provider

    • Steven Hernandez
      Executive Director, Commission on Women, Children & Seniors, and Equal Opportunity

    • Manisha Juthani, MD
      Commissioner, Department of Public Health

    • Brian Klimkiewicz
      619 Part B Coordinator, State Department of Education

    • Seila Mosquera-Bruno
      Commissioner, Department of Housing

    • Shelly Nolan
      Director of Women’s Services, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

    • Kimberly Oliver
      Director of the Department of Families, Children, Youth, and Recreation, City of Hartford

    • Marlene Padernacht
      Title I Coordinator, State Department of Education

    • Karen Pascale
      Early Head Start Director, United Way of Greater New Haven

    • Karen Rainville
      CT Association for the Education of Young Children

    • Edie Reichard
      Director, Sleeping Giant Day Care

    • Charlene Russell-Tucker
      Commissioner, State Department of Education

    • Jordan Scheff
      Commissioner, Department of Developmental Services

    • Louis Tallarita
      State Coordinator, Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education, State Department of Education

    • Holly Williams
      Section Director, Office of Policy and Management

Last updated April 2, 2024