Early Childhood Program Provides Economic Boost
For a past seven years All Our Kin, a New Haven-based not-for-profit, has been training low-income women to run their own daycare programs. The program focuses on improving quality early childhood education, but it wasn’t until recently that a question was posed to its executive director about how much money those certified daycare providers are returning to the state.
All Our Kin Executive Director Jessica Sager said last week that she was touring one of the daycare sites with a funding partner who turned to her and said, “I bet they’re paying a lot in taxes too.”
That made Sager wonder what type of impact the organization was having on the economy.
A study by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis released earlier this month shows it was bigger than anyone imagined.
Between 2006 and 2009, All Our Kin’s Tool Kit Licensing Program, created $18.4 million in additional tax revenue. During that same period the program generated $15.2 million in macroeconomic benefits to the New Haven region. And from 2010 to 2016 the report predicts that the program will result in approximately $9.4 million annually in macroeconomic benefits, and create about $17 million per year in additional tax revenue.
The report by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis found that for every $1 spent by All Our Kin on the licensing program, $15-$20 are returned to the state in terms of increased gross regional product.
More than 200 family child care providers have become licensed through the program in the past seven years.
Through the Tool Kit program, All Our Kin provides materials, mentorship and support to help unlicensed family, friend and neighbor caregivers meet health and safety standards, meet state licensing requirements, and become part of a professional child care provider community.
“When it comes to licensing, it’s not that providers don’t want to do it, it’s that they don’t think they can,” Sager said. “This [program] really helps boost their self-esteem.”
It also helps boost the pay of the providers. Graduates of the program reported earning between $20,000 and $25,000 per year, which is 10.4 percent more, on average than the typical wage for early care and education counterparts in New Haven, the report found. Nearly 60 percent of participants reported earning at least $5,000 more the first year after licensure and in the second year 45 percent reported earning at least $10,000 more.
The report also found that the additional money in the pocket of these providers allowed them to pay down debt, open savings accounts, and move to a bigger apartment or a house. It also found 50 percent went on to earn an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development.
The report concluded that by training individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds to become licensed care providers, “the program directly addresses the critical need for high-quality, culturally-competent child care – a need which all metrics indicate will continue to increase over the next decade.”
“Governor, are you listening? This is the best investment a state can make,” Stan McMillen, managing economist at the Department of Economic and Community Development, said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been largely supportive of Early Childhood Education initiatives, allowing daycare providers to discuss organizing labor unions through one executive order and by creating an creating an Office of Early Childhood Education through another executive order.