OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 273

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CARE 4 KIDS PROGRAM.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Care 4 Kids program, within available appropriations, to allow recipients of its child care subsidies who take unpaid leave from their jobs due to the birth or impending birth of a child to continue to be eligible for subsidies for up to 12 weeks if (1) the recipient intends to return to work at the end of the leave, (2) the recipient verifies that payment eligibility is needed to prevent the loss of a child care slot that is in a school-based program or licensed child care setting, and (3) the child for whom benefits have been provided continues to attend that program during the recipient's leave.

By law, the Department of Social Services (DSS) operates the Care 4 Kids program. Under current regulations, the department generally pays a subsidy for an additional month to a parent who takes an unpaid leave (which could include leave for maternity) if the parent intends to return to work at the end of that month, payment is needed to hold the slot in a licensed or school-based child care setting, and the child is still attending the child care program. If someone takes an extended maternity leave, DSS extends the program eligibility for up to 16 weeks but does not provide a subsidy during that time. (The parent must self-declare an intent to return to work at the end of that period. ) Apparently, the 16-week extended eligibility period applies to licensed and school-based settings, as well as informal child care arrangements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

BACKGROUND

Care 4 Kids Program

Within available appropriations, DSS offers child care subsidies to working families and certain others who have income under 50% of the state median income (SMI). Currently, a family of three with income under $ 42,893 per year can qualify. Once eligible, family income can rise to 75% of SMI, which for this family would be $ 64,340 annually.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Select Committee on Children

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference

Yea

8

Nay

4

(03/13/2012)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

54

Nay

0

(04/03/2012)