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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

New tool examines CT child care access, plans of action

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024   

A new tool is examining child care availability in Connecticut.

United Way of Connecticut's tool shows the actual number of offered child care spaces compared with those licensed. The hope is for parents to see how many of the actual slots are full or could be offered.

Lisa Tepper-Bates, president and CEO of the United Way of Connecticut, said there is a consistently lower supply than what the state authorized.

"This market is not functioning," Tepper-Bates contended. "Where a child care provider is actually licensed to have more slots, and people want those slots, there's a reason they're not being offered, or a collection of reasons."

She argued it is an important finding because it can shed light on broadening access to child care. While the tool can offer great insight, it is a point-in-time count.

Meanwhile, rising inflation has forced families to spend more on basics. Inflation in Connecticut rose more than 3% between 2007 and 2023, far outpacing the national consumer price index at 2.5%.

Child care is scarce in the state because of staff shortages and rising prices. Studies show child care jobs declined at the start of the pandemic, but have risen steadily since. In Connecticut, though, low wages in the industry have forced people to leave and made centers close. Tepper-Bates pointed out parents have had to make tough choices because of lacking child care options.

"There are parents for whom the wage rate they could earn simply does not offset enough the high cost of child care, so they don't go to work at all," Tepper-Bates observed. "They stay home and take care of their children."

Surveys have reported rising child care costs forced 45% of working mothers to quit their jobs and stay home with their kids.

Parents around the world are having difficulty accessing child care. United Nations leaders set a 2030 target of ensuring every child in the world can have access to early childhood development, child care, and pre-primary education. To date, no country has established a plan to reach the goal.


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