oec: The Office of Early Childhood Announces Care 4 Kids Family Income Eligibility Changes Effective July 1, 2016

The Office of Early Childhood Announces Care 4 Kids Family Income Eligibility Changes Effective July 1, 2016

Each year approximately 19,000 families use the Care 4 Kids program to offset the cost of child care and afterschool care. The total annual appropriation for the payments of Care 4 Kids certificates is $113M, this includes approximately $53M from the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the remainder from the state’s general fund.

To date, in FY 2016, the monthly utilization of the C4K program was as low as 12,777 families and as high as 14,516 families.

The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) was reauthorized in November 2014 and brought with it sweeping changes to the program. The changes bring a new, and much needed, focus on quality and continuity of care for the child. Children receiving a child care subsidy will receive higher quality and more stable care, all while ensuring a parent can maintain employment. 

The Office of Early Childhood supports these changes and realizes that these changes will increase the average cost of a certificate per family. The key federal changes include extended eligibility from 8 to 12 months, a 3 month job search period and a 3 month graduated phase out. In addition, Connecticut provider rates have also increased.

Given these changes the OEC projects a $34 million dollar shortfall in FY17.

In order to remain within our federal and state allocation for FY17, the OEC estimates it can support a monthly average case load of 12,900 families in the program. To maintain this case load, the OEC has changed the income eligibility threshold for working families whose gross income is less than 50% of the State Median Income. These families are currently classified as Priority Group 4 (PG4).

Effective July 1, 2016, the following changes will be made to the Care 4 Kids program for these families:

  • Income eligibility for new families will change from less than 50% to a maximum of 30% of the State Median Income (SMI).  Based on the current SMI for a family of three, annual household income eligibility would be reduced from $44,601 to $26,760.

  • Families currently holding a Care 4 Kids certificate would need to meet the 30% or under SMI requirement when they reapply for a new certificate at the 12 month redetermination. 

Eligibility for TANF recipients (PG1), former TANF recipients (PG2) and teen parents ages 18 and 19 (PG3) will remain unchanged.

Please know that we did not come to this decision easily. It pains us knowing what a hardship many families will face as a result of this change. This change in income eligibility will avoid having to intermittently open and close the entire Priority Group 4 and ensure that children living in our lowest income households have access to safe and stable child care.

Other child care programs may be available to children no longer eligible for Care 4 Kids. We encourage families to call 2-1-1. This service is available at no charge to help parents find child care and answer all child care related questions. 2-1-1 Child Care maintains a list of state-licensed child care facilities in Connecticut. Parents also can call 1-800-505-1000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Content Last Modified on 5/26/2016 1:03:29 PM