- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials said Friday they have found a way to ensure thousands of needy families will still receive a child care subsidy.

The Office of Early Childhood said that instead of cutting off coverage to families already in the program, the agency will not accept new applicants, except within certain groups, beginning Aug. 1.

“We believe that maintaining continuity of care for children currently enrolled in the Care4Kids program is of the utmost importance,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, the agency’s commissioner.

New applicants who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, former TANF recipients from the last five years and certain 18- and 19-year-old parents will remain eligible for the child care subsidy.

The office originally planned to lower the income eligibility for Care4Kids program due to changes in federal block grant funding rules that made the program more costly, creating a $33 million shortfall. The office estimated 4,500 families representing about 6,100 children would no longer be eligible as of July 1.

The state’s program typically serves about 19,000 families annually.

Merrill Gay, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance praised the agency’s decision to change its plans and re-open Care4Kids to currently enrolled families who earn up to 50 percent of the state median income. For a family of three, that’s $44,601 a year.

Gay acknowledged it will be hardship for new families that had hoped to receive the child care subsidy.

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