Office of Early Childhood Announces Rate Increase in Care 4 Kids Program

Last updated August 11, 2020

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Office of Early Childhood Announces Rate Increase in Care 4 Kids Program


The Office of Early Childhood announced today a significant rate increase for Care 4 Kids, a state and federally funded program for lower income working families to help pay for child care. This rate increase for child care centers serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers is the first in many years thanks, in part, to $14 million in new federal Child Care Development Fund dollars, and Connecticut’s long-standing investment in this program. The rate increases will go into effect September 1, 2019.

This takes a major step forward to address the needs of Connecticut’s working families.  Connecticut currently has one of the lowest child care subsidy rates in the country and a 50,000 seat shortage of infant/toddler care which has made it difficult for parents to access affordable child care. 

The rate adjustment has three major benefits: 1) gives parents, particularly those with infants, better buying power and access to child care options; 2) helps stabilize child care providers financially, many of whom are small business owners; 3) and enhances the ability of child care centers to improve the quality of care for developing minds.

The rates are being increased at the scale necessary to respond to federal requirements to provide greater choice and access to families. These rate changes will vary across regions and age groups.  For center-based infant toddler care, the rates will increase from the 2nd percentile to the 50th percentile, meaning families can access 50% of center based infant/toddler spaces using this child care.  For centers serving preschoolers, the rates will increase to the 25th percentile.  As an example, in Hartford, the rate for full-time infant toddler care will increase from $201 per week to $308 per week.  The rate for full-time preschool care will increase from $160 to $203 per week.

 “This is critical to maintain federal funding and is long over-due. It will support child care providers, parents, and children’s development in these critical first years,” said Beth Bye, Office of Early Childhood Commissioner. “It will help stabilize an already fragile child care system and make some gains for better wages for child care workers.”

“I am pleased that we can invest these new federal dollars to support child care providers and working families. We commend our Congressional delegation for fighting for this major federal investment in child care,” said Governor Ned Lamont.


“As Chair of the Congressional Appropriations Committee that funds child care programs, I am proud to have fought for and secured an historic increase in federal funding that will help more kids in Connecticut get the care they need,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “These Care 4 Kids rate increases will help working families who rely on quality child care programs, as well as those who provide child care for our youngsters.”

“As Senate Chair of the Education Committee, and as a state senator representing the people of Hartford,  Bloomfield and Windsor, I not only know how expensive child care is for lower income working families, I also how important it is to have access to child care,” said Senator Doug McCrory. “Being able to pay someone to watch your child while you work hard to get ahead is going to be significantly easier with this infusion of federal funds.”

“This significant increase in Care 4 Kids rates will support our child care providers and our families, and at the same time help to expand the pool of providers,” said Representative Cathy Abercrombie. “Care 4 Kids is an extremely important program that makes it possible for parents to work and support a family.”

“The Care 4 Kids program simultaneously supports working families, ensures that the most vulnerable children are cared for and nurtured during the most critical period of their development, while bolstering child care businesses helmed primarily by women of color.  This increase is a much needed boost for the program and affirms Connecticut’s commitment to all the constituencies that the program serves,” said Georgia Goldburn, Director of Hope for New Haven.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this long awaited increase and we applaud Congresswoman DeLauro’s leadership in pushing for additional federal funding for child care. And we will keep up the momentum for a continued investment in early childhood at the federal and state level,” said Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.

The rate increase announced today applies to child care centers that participate in the Care 4 Kids program.  In addition, new rates recently went into effect for licensed family child care homes and unlicensed relative care under the collective bargaining agreement between OEC and CSEA SEUI-2001. 

About the Office of Early Childhood

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood advances a family-centered approach to support young children and families. Integrating early childhood programs formerly administered by five separate state agencies, the OEC serves children each year through child care, pre-K, home visiting, child and youth camp licensing, early intervention and parenting supports. Through this integrated approach and collaboration with other state agencies, the OEC works to advance better coordinated, more cost-effective services that yield measurable results for Connecticut’s children and families. To contact the Office of Early Childhood, please visit our website at or call (860) 500-4412.