Enhancing Child Care Services with Stimulus Funding: Department of Social Services Approves Projects
April 8, 2010
The Connecticut Department of Social Services has allocated nearly $1.8 million in federal stimulus dollars to fund projects aimed at enhancing the quality of child care services throughout the state.
“These are one-time dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and we are focusing our energy on immediate efforts that will contribute significant value to the Connecticut child care system,” Commissioner Michael P. Starkowski said.
The state’s plan was developed after considering input from a variety of sources, such as the public hearings held last year on the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) child care plan, and findings from a December 2009 report from the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut titled: Ensuring Health and Safety in Connecticut’s Early Care and Education Programs.
Funding will support:
- Dissemination of the CT Infant/Toddler Early Learning Guidelines to train additional caregivers as currently administered by the Statewide Accreditation Facilitation Project. DSS will also work with: All Our Kin, in Hamden, to disseminate the “Guidelines” to family day care providers; and the Connecticut Training and Technical Assistance Center and Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration office to insure caregivers working in Connecticut Early Head Start organizations and other infant-toddler programs are trained. $200,612 has been targeted to this activity.
- Development of direct deposit, pre-filled redetermination and electronic invoicing capabilities for the caregivers who receive funds directly from the Care 4 Kids (C4K) child care assistance program. DSS will target $150,000 to our two C4K contractors – United Way of CT and Saber, Inc, a program of Hewlett Packard, Inc.
- The United Way of CT’s 211-Child Care project will receive $60,000 to develop a statewide Emergency Preparedness Plan for early care providers in collaboration with the CT Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and the several organizations on the DEMHS Child Safety and Crisis Response Committee.
- Training, scholarship assistance and accreditation support services as currently administered by the CT Charts a Course project, a program of the CT Community College System to assist caregivers obtain credentials and degrees. Special attention will be targeted to family day care homes and caregivers in other child care settings throughout the state $302,188 has been targeted to this activity.
- The CT Department of Public Health will receive up to $300,000 to support the child care regulatory function in order to enhance its electronic monitoring and compliance systems.
- DSS will direct $100,000 to develop a statewide web-based reporting system at DSS ($50,000) in order to retrieve sufficient detail information on program participants (children and families) to allow DSS & SDE expenditures to be claimed under CCDF & TANF. DSS will also target $50,000 to support the development of the Early Childhood Information System.
- DSS will target $475,000 to work with the, the CT Association for the Education of Yong Children (CAEYC), the Statewide Accreditation Facilitation Project, and the United Way’s 211-Child Care to have all playgrounds at licensed child care centers fully inspected by certified playground inspectors and to provide grants/vouchers to procure materials and equipment necessary for playground safety enhancements.
- DSS will target $198,790 among the following organizations: the CT Association of Infant Mental Health, the CT Nurses Association and the CT Charts a Course project to coordinate consultation services for caregivers and to support the implementation of the Competency Guidelines for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health Training for infant-toddler providers.
The overall amount Connecticut can receive under ARRA for child care services is $13.7 million. Of that, $1.131 million must be spent on quality expansions or improvements and $655,000 must be spent on infant/toddler quality activities. The remainder, $11.899 million, can be spent to support child care services in general.
Due to the state’s fiscal crisis and the Care 4 Kids program running a deficit, DSS used a large portion of its money to continue paying child care subsidies in the Care 4 Kids program. The alternative was not only closing intake but potentially discontinuing benefits for existing program beneficiaries. DSS spent $9.6 million of the $13.7 million during state fiscal year 2009. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services praised Connecticut for being one of the first states to spend a large portion of our ARRA Child Care dollars. This enabled 12,260 families with children to continue receiving child care services, and enabled an estimated 4,715 child care workers to retain their jobs.
The full ARRA child care quality plan is available by following this link - CT CCDF PLAN 2010
Content Last Modified on 4/12/2010 4:42:04 PM