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Bill to Help Homeless Families Find Child Care Gets a Hearing

Access to safe, reliable child care helps homeless families secure jobs and housing.  (USDA/flickr)
Access to safe, reliable child care helps homeless families secure jobs and housing. (USDA/flickr)
February 15, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. - Child care is a vital service, but particularly for homeless families, that's the message advocates will be delivering Tuesday to the state Senate's Committee on Children.

The committee is considering a bill that would increase access to child care for homeless children. Lisa Tepper Bates, director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, says the bill would help homeless families get back on their feet.

"SB 10 would remove some of the barriers that have made it more difficult for parents to quickly secure the child care that will allow them to secure housing, and to get the jobs they need," says Bates.

Senate Bill 10 was introduced by Gov. Dannel Malloy as part of his legislative package for this this session.

According to Bates, the bill would give parents a 90-day grace period to provide health and immunization documents, and it would make homeless children "categorically eligible" for subsidized child care.

"Under current circumstances, these children are not eligible for that subsidy unless their parents are currently working or enrolled in job training," she says.

Bates points out that loss of a job is often the cause of homelessness, and without reliable child care, enrollment in job training may be extremely difficult.

Bates believes the governor's introduction of the bill during a time of budget cuts indicates his awareness that family homelessness is very expensive for the state.

"So, everything we can do to help parents in those households quickly stabilize their lives, secure employment and get housed, that pays a benefit for the state," says Bates.

The hearing is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT