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Hundreds of Connecticut child care workers rally for state funding

Eight different rallies were held across Connecticut on Tuesday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Dubbed as a "Morning Without Childcare," hundreds of child care workers spent Tuesday morning hosting eight rallies across Connecticut. Advocates, children, and others showed up to call on lawmakers to provide more funding for an industry they say is in a state of crisis. 

"The child care system is broken. Families can’t afford it. Teachers make too little and programs can barely survive," said Allyx Schiavone, Executive Director of Friends Center for Children in New Haven.

Schiavone said this problem has been growing for decades. Pandemic funding actually kept providers afloat, but now they're drowning again. 

“We want to get in the boat. We want to get out of the water and into the boat. And we need investment to get to that place," Schiavone said. 

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Those involved in the planning of a Morning Without Childcare are part of a coalition called Child Care for Connecticut's Future. The eight rallies took place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in New Haven, Bridgeport, New Britain, Danbury, New London, Stamford, Stratford and Waterbury

The advocates are asking the state for $700 million, to help offset the costs of running their facilities. Right now, 62 percent of all day care centers in Connecticut are operating at a loss. 

"The cost is more than I'm able to really bare however, I don’t want to give it up," said Angela Russell, the owner of Arms of Love Family Academy in New Haven.

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But Russell and those who send their kids to daycare have no choice but to pay the price.

“We need help, that’s why we’re here," said Rondraya Barron, a child care worker and mother.

Barron works at the daycare she sends her child to. But even with a discount other parents aren't seeing, Barron says the money is not enough to support her and her family. Others in her field are working for a median wage of $13.45 to start.

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“I need more, I need to support my baby," Barron said. 

The state Senate is introducing a new bill this week, focusing on funding for children. Providers say it’s a start, but it only scratches the surface. 

“Without an investment into early childhood and education, the entire economy is at risk. Because we support the entire workforce," Schiavone said.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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