In the state of Connecticut, barriers to employment impact many workers and jobseekers, including 95% of Connecticut’s 10,000 Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) Program participants. A prevailing concern is affordable and accessible childcare, as it remains one of the top the barriers to employment within the state. Childcare is necessary for working families as it provides assistance in the care of a child while the parent works. Despite the fact that it is important for family functioning, the cost of childcare has increased significantly, making it an impossible option for lower income families.
In Connecticut, the cost of childcare constitutes one third of the median income for single parents. Often, this cost is even more burdensome for single mothers due to the persistence of the gender wage gap. In effort to aid families impacted by this epidemic, the state has created government subsidized programs and tax credits for childcare facilities to help low income families in need of childcare. Care 4 Kids, for example, provides child care benefits for nearly 24,000 children with in the state. While these services benefit families, such as the 31 percent of single mother families living below the poverty line, they do not adequately meet the needs of Connecticut’s working families.
State programs directed towards childcare assistance need to be refined and expanded in order to decrease the number of individuals facing childcare as an employment barrier. Furthermore, Connecticut workers would benefit from exploring alternative methods of childcare. According to United Way’s 2-1-1, family daycare centers and state subsidized pre-school programs are often less expensive and more accessible than traditional childcare facilities; however, they hold the lowest occupancy rates within the state. Through the education of alternative childcare options such as family day care centers, as well as expanding government funded programs, Connecticut would become closer to eliminating employment barriers and recovering from the Great Recession.
Read more on employment barriers impacting Connecticut workers through CWEALF’s involvement with the Campaign for a Working Connecticut. To learn more about childcare services within the state, visit United Way of Connecticut’s 2-1-1 childcare.