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CT United Way Working on Family Child-Care Network Hub

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Thursday, November 17, 2022   

United Way of Connecticut is launching a network hub for family child care providers. The new hub, created in partnership with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, connects family child care services into regional networks to help families looking for child care.

Recent deficiencies in child care have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study by the University of California-Berkeley, child care jobs plummeted at the start of the pandemic, but they have been rebounding steadily.

Sherri Sutera, senior vice president of child care service at the United Way of Connecticut, described some of the goals of the program.

"A goal is to really increase the number of individuals in that field," Sutera explained. "By doing that, we want to make it more cost-effective for them to do that, to have them have access to all sorts of resources and support, so they can actually create a business out of their home."

Another goal is helping child care providers attain national accreditation. While the program is still new, there are certain elements Sutera will grow in the future, including expanding the number of toddlers family child care home providers are allowed to work with, which the state currently caps.

Sutera noted there are some misconceptions about working in child care. The most common is families not considering family child care as a way to care for kids while they are working or doing higher education activities. She added the program is designed to alleviate some of the burdens working in child care brings. It will also address some things child care providers are not always able to take on.

"They don't have a lot of time to take advantage of professional development opportunities," Sutera outlined. "To really spend time on administrative tasks, managing enrollment and paperwork, and doing taxes, and working toward professional-development goals and quality indicators such as getting accredited."

Sutera is excited to work with child care providers and hopes to bring them together with families who need them.


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