United Way of Western CT Launches Cora's Kids, Focus on Early Childhood Development Through Infant and Toddler Childcare

UWWC announces $1 million investment over five years to create jobs supporting licensed home childcare.

United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) has announced the launch of Cora's Kids, a program to invest $1 million over the next three to five years to support new family childcare centers in Danbury at an event at the Danbury Fair Mall Center Court on April 19, 2018.

"We will be recruiting and licensing new family childcare businesses and supporting current providers who are facing closure due to low enrollment because families can't afford the care," said Cindy Merkle, President, and CEO of Union Savings Bank and UWWC Board Chair, in remarks during the morning event. "Through an innovative approach, we will help providers lower their costs and increase their access to subsidies for food and childcare for low wage families. Our goal is to create hundreds of new childcare slots, dozens of new businesses, and allow families to continue to work and live in financially stable homes in Danbury."

Childcare is a critical component of a family's ability to work and contribute to the local economy, Merkle explained. The lack of adequate and affordable childcare adversely impacts both employees and employers in the service, healthcare, retail, food, education and nonprofit sectors.

"United Way has spent time listening to families who are forced to place their infants and toddlers in unlicensed and often unsafe care due to a lack of affordable quality care. We have also talked with many unlicensed providers, who have opened their homes to children in order to allow their neighbors and family to work," Merkle said. "They don't realize that there is a way to become licensed, build a business and receive training to prepare the children for success in school. We want to change that."

Through Cora's Kids, United Way is currently working with parties interested in becoming licensed as a new home-based childcare business as part of a quality network of providers throughout the City of Danbury. Incentives for partners who keep tuition affordable for working households include licensing assistance, business training, childcare set up with books, supplies, and toys, and training in early childhood education.

The effort is not a solitary enterprise, said UWWC CEO Kimberly Morgan, and its innovative premise has attracted notice from major regional and national funders. "Danbury was recently awarded $100,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor's Challenge to help us test and implement the innovative ideas of Cora's Kids. This initiative is also supporting the Boston Fed's Working Cities Challenge grant awarded to Danbury."

Named for the late Cora Spratt, wife of Harold Spratt whose generous donation helped launch this effort, Cora's Kids represents an expansion of her devotion to causes related to children and education, and its innovation and groundswell of community support offers a promising future of success and replicability.

"[Cora's Kids is] just the beginning of what we hope will be a lasting legacy for our next generation," Morgan said to bring the event to a close.

Danbury Fair Mall generously provided space at Center Court for the event, and Brio Tuscan Grill provided breakfast for attendees, who included members of the media, educational providers, and community leaders. Connecticut State Representative Michael Ferguson (R-138) was on hand to offer his congratulations and best wishes for the success of the initiative.

For more information about Cora's Kids and United Way's investment in early childhood development, please contact Sofia Dupi at 203-297-6726 or sofia.dupi@uwwesternct.org.

For high-resolution photos and captions from the event, please access: https://photos.app.goo.gl/4SV3OaQlQtvirXB32.

Source: United Way of Western Connecticut

Categories: Small Business

Tags: childcare, danbury, jobs

About United Way of Western Connecticut

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United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in greater Danbury, New Milford and Stamford, with a focus on households we call ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).

United Way of Western Connecticut
301 Mian Street, Suite 2-5
Danbury, CT 06810
United States