Contact Us
Make My Homepage

NJ Child Care System Needs Help, Report Says [AUDIO]

New Jersey’s youngest children aren’t getting the quality attention and resources they deserve in child care and preschool, according to a new report from Advocates for Children of New Jersey. The group claims a few moves by the state can help relieve some of the pressure.More than 400,000 children under age 5 spend part of their week in some form of child care, the report states, but providing care at a cost that families can afford is challenging.


New Jersey became one of six states late last year to receive a $44 million federal grant to improve child care quality. To help steer the funds in the right direction, ACNJ conducted a survey of hundreds of child care providers and held three focus groups.

“The components of quality, such as low child/staff ratios, qualified teachers, meaningful professional development, developmentally-appropriate supplies and equipment, adequate facilities and strong family partnerships, are very costly,” ACNJ said in the report.

Receiving the biggest share of criticism was the rate at which the state reimburses providers caring for children from low-income families.

“The reimbursement rate has been stagnant for five years,” explained Cynthia Rice, ACNJ senior policy analyst. “It is $400 a month lower than the national standard.”

The report cited a $34.75 daily state-subsidy payment for an infant, and $28.65 for a preschooler.

Survey respondents said holding on to qualified teachers is a pressing issue due to a lack of adequate funding to pay decent wages. Still, the report pushes for the return to a program that offers scholarships to early learning teachers so they can earn a college degree.

“It’s not babysitting, and that’s why it’s so important to have teachers who understand child development and can provide that rich quality,” Rice said. “You want children to be engaged and learning through play. That’s the way children learn when they’re young. It’s not at a table.”

A lack of financial security has also been stressed by private care providers who do not get support from the state.

“We have to do a lot of fundraising for any extras,” said Susan deBrigard, director of the Tower Hill School in Red Bank. “When you talk about playgrounds and security, we’re talking about thousands of dollars.”

Rice said the earlier years are when a brain develops the most, “and we have to get the biggest bang for our buck.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Best of NJ101.5

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for New Jersey Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive New Jersey Insiders contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.