COVID “ruined everything,” said Beth Scarpati, owner of the Academy of Early Learning in Cheshire. “These young kids, they do not want to work. They want a lot of money, but the industry doesn’t warrant high pay,” said Scarpati. “I could 100 percent pay my staff a lot more money, but that cost is on to the parents. And now it’s a lot — you’re asking parents to pay $400 a week for daycare.”

Scarpati is hardly the only childcare provider to express such concerns. Despite millions of dollars in state and federal funds designed to shore up the childcare sector during and after the pandemic, business owners who spoke to CT Examiner say they are in a bind — with substantial numbers of parents looking for childcare, but not enough staff to accommodate them, and no obvious way to attract more workers at wages that the businesses – or parents – can afford.

The providers say that grants they were able to receive from the Women’s Business Development Council, in combination with the Office of Early Childhood, have been helpful — they have used the money for projects like expanding the basement areas where they care for the children or buying supplies.


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