A New Year Message from OEC Commissioner Beth Bye

To our Child Care Providers, Happy New Year 2022!

We cannot thank you enough for all the hard work, dedication, inspiration, and love you have put into your roles each and every day. The challenges we have faced over the past two years have been unlike any we have faced before. It has been hard, but you continue to show up and do the most important work. You are supporting the children and families of Connecticut who rely on you for the care and education of our most precious little ones.

We know the past two years have been hard, but this New Year, we are facing an even bigger challenge as the virus
morphs and spreads and challenges our best efforts to keep our programs open and safe for children and staff. We hear from you about the staff shortages, the fear, enrollment concerns, fiscal worries, and how families are struggling with the many impacts of COVID. Your dedication to children and families at this difficult time will have an impact for generations to come.

At OEC, we are working to support your programs and improve our services – to make them more parent- and program-friendly. We are working on data system improvements, Care4Kids enrollment and invoicing improvements, and background check system improvements. We know it can be difficult navigating regulatory systems—indeed, it is hard for us, too. Your feedback (positive and negative) makes us better. I have been particularly grateful for your participation in calls and webinars—thousands of you participated. And I’m grateful to the advocacy community and Union for bringing us together, and helping to share information and feedback.

Know that Governor Lamont personally checks in with me about how it’s going for child care and preschool programs, and he has allocated more than $300M of federal funds over the past year and a half to support providers. We all know that it will take significant additional federal investments to build the high-quality early learning system we all strive to develop. We all believe our children, our families, and our own staff deserve the very best.

The child care field is in the national spotlight as the importance of your chosen profession is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Your work is unparalleled and the value you provide the children you teach, as well as the
communities you work in, is truly incredible. Thank you for all you do!

We look forward to 2022 with hope, light, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Beth Bye

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