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1 in 4 Connecticut children are part of an immigrant family, and they face financial barriers

Marylu Sarmiento of West Haven (center) joined dozens of other protesters in May calling for support for immigrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Marylu Sarmiento of West Haven (center) joined dozens of other protesters in May calling for support for immigrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 1 in 4 children across the state are part of an immigrant family – and they’re more likely to face financial hardships.

That’s according to a recent report by the group Connecticut Voices for Children. The report focuses on the hurdles that immigrant and refugee families face when trying to access early child care and education services.

The study also found that these children are more likely to face economic challenges.

While Connecticut has increased access to early care services through federally subsidized programs like Care 4 Kids, there is still a barrier for immigrant and refugee families.

“Due to federal regulations, families, where the children are undocumented, are not able to apply for and receive this help,” said Lauren Ruth, policy director at Connecticut Voices for Children. “Many parents in immigrant families may or may not have documentation. Sometimes, even if the child is a U.S. citizen, families may not know that they can access care for kids.”

The report used a combination of data from state agencies and interviews with immigrant families. Data collected showed immigrant children under 6 are more likely to live in poverty and face transportation and language barriers, Ruth said.

About 45% of immigrants in Connecticut come from Latin America, which the census describes as the Caribbean, Central America and South America, Ruth said.

The study also explores child care deserts across the state, finding that families living in cities like Danbury and Waterbury don’t have enough child care available.

The report recommends that the state move toward universal access to affordable early care and education. It also recommends establishing a permanent state-level child tax credit. And it endorsed the child tax creditthat the state adopted this year.

In Connecticut, families have until July 31 to apply for a tax rebate of $250 per child for up to three children.

Sen. Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden) joined a roundtable to discuss mitigating rising costs for families experiencing hardship due to the spike in the cost of gas and groceries.

“In this last budget, we tried to address that, to make it just a little easier for families to make ends meet, and we included the child tax rebate for low- and [middle] income families that can apply,” Cabrera said. “We also reduced the car tax. We increased a property tax credit, which would cover over 385 households in Connecticut.”

Cabrera said that while state and federal officials are addressing rising costs of living, more needs to be done.

Brenda León is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Brenda covers the Latino/a, Latinx community with an emphasis on wealth-based disparities in health, education and criminal justice.

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