New Fiscal Year 08 investments in early care and education help to compensate for the deterioration of total funding for child care that has taken place over the last few years. However, these investments do not fully account for past losses for many programs.
The new investments aimed at moving Connecticut toward universal access to preschool through the SDE School Readiness Programs and DSS State Funded Child Care Centers are to be commended. However, this new investment is undermined by a continued lack of comparable growth in child care programs that are instrumental in supporting working families and providing financial stability to child care providers.
The FY 08 early care and education budget in the DSS and SDE budgets, combined, is about 17% more than the FY 07 early care and education budget. Notwithstanding this significant one-year increase, however, funding for early care initiatives is only about 2% more than actual spending on early care in FY 02 (if adjusted for inflation).