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Parents caught in the middle of Hartford daycare battle look for answers

HARTFORD --  Parents from the Grace Street Children's Center in Hartford run by the Community Renewal Team attended a meeting to get answers.

“The puzzle isn’t coming together for me," said Natalie Morris. "If CRT is saying one thing, the City and the State are saying another, how are the parents going to understand what both parties are saying?”

Morris and her daughter Taylor were among the families that attended the informational after a reallocation of funds is forcing their childcare center to close. Morris and other parents were happy with their situation with CRT and were frustrated they weren’t involved more in the process.

“Whenever these decisions are being made involve the community," said Morris. "Involve the parents. If the teachers have an objection about the data that is being collected, take those objections seriously.”

Representatives from the state, Mayor Luke Bronin, and the Mayor’s Cabinet for Young Children were in attendance to clear up some of the confusion.

“An organization CRT is losing spots. Kids and families are not losing," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. "Kids still have those spots that are in your neighborhood at the same sliding scale of cost and open full day for those working parents.”

The Cabinet for Young Children receives applications from multiple childcare programs every year asking for spots granted by the State of Connecticut. They use a grading system to review those applications and submitted their findings to the State. The State approved of their recommendations.

“This is not a reduction of funds this is a reduction of spots that a particular organization is getting," said Mayor Bronin. "Other organizations do this work as well and it’s a reallocation of those spots.”

The City of Hartford says every family from the Grace Street location will get placed in a new program at the same price. They are willing to work on an individual basis with families to make sure they understand their options.

“At the end of the day their child’s not losing their spot. In fact, their child may be getting an even better opportunity,” said Mayor Bronin.

CRT representatives still want answers as to why they lost those spots to other programs. The CRT is calling on the city to hire a third-party task force to investigate their grading system.

“Not only the methodology that was used to create the scoring that the came up with, but in terms of how those slots are assigned to different school readiness providers across the city of Hartford,” said Jason Black of the CRT.

The city of Hartford says that they have sent back their reviews to the State's Office of Early Childhood with concerns from the CRT to be reevaluated. They say they will accommodate every family and it will be their choice where to go.

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