Thousands of parents in danger of losing child care

- FILE - Children in the Connecticut Care 4 Kids Program (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The “Care4Kids” program is designed to help keep people off of welfare. It allows parents that work, but don’t make a lot of money, to get quality care for their kids while they are at work.

According to Gov. Dannel Malloy‘s budget office, every year, close to 20,000 families in Connecticut use the child care subsidy called “Care4Kids” to offset the cost of child care and after school care. Because of the current state budget situation, the state has stopped accepting applications and may soon start sending out non-renewal notices.

27-year-old Diane Ortiz has already lost her coverage for her 5-year-old daughter.

“I have to come out of pocket to pay for after school care which then puts me in a predicament where I have to chose between paying the bills fully or put the money towards day care,” said Ortiz.

“Care4Kids” costs over $100-million a year. About half of that has been coming from the federal government with the state paying the rest. Changes in the federal rules mean the state will have to pick up an additional $33-million.

“What it means is that families will not have child care in many cases,” says Deb Ullman, the CEO of the YWCA of the Hartford region, “We will look to be able to bridge people for some period of time, but we won’t be able to do that forever.”

A spokesman for the Malloy Administration says they believe in the program and they are continuing to evaluate all options before moving forward with any changes. But child care agencies tell News 8, they have been told that the cancellation notices are ready to be sent.

This is not just a crisis for parents. The director of the largest day care center in New Haven says more than half of their parents use “Care4Kids.” The director says if they lost all that much cash flow, they’d have to close up.

Some of the day care providers and some of the parents affected by this are expected to testify before state lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee at the State Capitol Friday. A State Capitol rally is being planned for later this month.

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