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HARTFORD, CT — A program that subsidizes the cost of daycare for working families is reopening and accepting new applications for the first time since August 2016.

Care4Kids, a joint state and federal program, was closed to new applicants in 2016 because the federal government instituted new costly mandates. State officials felt it was best to restrict the number of children in the program, rather than changing eligibility criteria, which meant closing the program to new applicants.

However, thanks to $31 million in funding over the next two years as part of the recently approved state budget, the program will begin accepting new applicants today.

There are currently 5,769 families on the wait list in Connecticut.

“For thousands of Connecticut’s hard working families, Care4Kids is a lifeline,” Office of Early Childhood Commissioner David Wilkinson said. “Care 4 Kids is a two-generation program that enables parents to work while providing piece of mind that their children are safe and in quality care.  Our highest priority is to reach and enroll as many working families in need of this support as our budget responsibly allows.”

Families who registered on the wait list will begin to receive requests to apply in phases starting Wednesday. Consistent with state rules, enrollment begins with the highest-need families defined by priority groups and those families who have been on the wait list longest.

The federal requirements that elevated state costs also increase stability for families on the program, reducing burden and complexity for working families. The OEC will closely monitor enrollment rates to ensure the program serves the maximum number of families possible while staying within budget.

“After fighting tirelessly to secure funding for the Care4Kids program in the state budget, today it gives me great pleasure to see the program being rebooted to include more families,” Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Trumbull, said. “Because child care is often one of the biggest monthly expenses families will face, sometimes working parents are forced to quit their jobs to care for their children. This program helps keep parents at work and their children in good care.”

Additional information on the Care4Kids program can be found by visiting www.ctcare4kids.com or calling 1-888-214-KIDS (5437).