The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, known as the “federal stimulus”) allocates $2 billion to states for child care assistance to low income families. Connecticut is likely to receive approximately $13.7 million. The ARRA earmarks certain funding for quality improvement. The ARRA further mandates that some of these quality improvement funds be spent on activities to improve care for infants and toddlers specifically. Connecticut will receive approximately $665,000 to spend on improving care for its youngest citizens.
This brief suggests that Connecticut policymakers should allocate a portion of its infant/toddler quality improvement dollars to help license family child care providers and provide them with technical assistance and professional development. Both of these investments meet the ARRA’s stated goal of achieving long-term benefits without incurring continuing financial commitments: the former would expand the state’s supply of licensed family child care, with the license providing a guarantee of at least a certain level of quality, while the latter would further enhance the quality of care and reduce the turnover rate among this group of providers.