WNPR

Report Shows Connecticut's Early Childcare System Is 'Woefully Underfunded'

Jul 6, 2018

Ingrid Henlon has been working in Hartford as an early childhood teacher for 27 years, but she said she hasn't gotten a raise in a decade.

"I'm a single person, and every year, you know, everything goes up," she said. "The light goes up, the gas goes up, the rent keep going up, but for the past couple of years my paycheck has been the consistent amount."

A new analysis from the University of California, Berkeley, said that Connecticut's early childcare system doesn't have the resources it needs to provide appropriate services. The report found that many of the state's early childhood teachers earn unlivable wages, and that across the state, wages for teachers and childcare workers have increased only slightly since 2015. Wages for preschool or child care center directors, however, have actually fallen over the last three years.

Henlon said the report is not a surprise.

"Childcare workers -- although we're one of the first teachers in a child's life -- are one of the most underpaid," Henlon said. "Most people look at our job as babysitting, but in actuality, we're really preparing these children for public schools."

Multiple studies have shown that children who receive quality early childhood education, do better once they go into kindergarten.

The report found that childcare workers are underpaid across the country, and even though most employees are women, their pay is on average lower than men in the same industry, and women of color get paid the least.