The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund calls on state and municipal budget makers to fully and equitably fund early care and education in Connecticut. In most BIPOC communities—and, indeed, across the state—child care is in short supply. Disparities in access to care existed long before COVID-19; the problem was magnified during the pandemic when workers fled the underpaid positions and exacerbated the lack of child care available for low-income workers.
The inequities in early care and education have deep roots and harm both children and educators. The United States’ child care system was built on the unpaid and underpaid labor of Black and Brown women. Today, early childhood educators earn below a liveable wage, while the families in greatest need struggle to afford the cost of care. As a result, children, parents, and educators suffer. Our state and local leaders need to focus on the entire early childhood system—both center-based and family child care--with a special focus on marginalized communities that have suffered a history of underinvestment and disproportionate harm.
Since 2001, the Memorial Fund has partnered with communities across Connecticut to help establish a state early childhood system to improve school readiness and student success by the third grade. Reflecting on the persistent gaps in opportunity and achievement, the Memorial Fund adopted a new mission in 2015 to “achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty”. The Memorial Fund understands that early childhood education represents one of the greatest opportunities for Black and Brown children living in poverty. Underfunding early childhood education is one of the earliest contributors to a host of equity gaps.
If our policymakers are committed to ensuring equal opportunity from childhood, early care and education in marginalized communities must receive equitable funding. All communities and their representatives should support fairness for our youngest and most vulnerable population.