Letter: Wilton lags on after-school child care

To the Editors:
In 2013, our family moved to Wilton, like so many in our town, for its schools. With one child now in second grade and another starting kindergarten in the fall, we have so far been impressed by the teachers, curriculum, and technology offered through the Wilton district. However, we continue to be frustrated by how few resources are offered by the town and schools to meet the needs of families with, like the majority of Americans, two working parents.
This week marked registration for after-school care for the 2019-20 school year. Wilton Continuing Ed opened at midnight Monday. All available regular and drop-in spots for both elementary schools were reserved before the first morning bus pulled into Cider Mill that day. At the Y, after-care for grades 3-6 was full before registration ever opened to new students; at midnight Wednesday only five spots were offered to children in K-2 and were full by 12:02 a.m. (I know, because I was one of the ones who set a middle-of-the-night alarm and was refreshing the registration page like mad at 11:59 p.m.)
With an elementary population of at least 1,500 in the town, how is it possible so few options exist for regular after-school child care? Between Continuing Ed, YMCA, and the fantastic Create Learning Center, I’d guess there are places for not more than 15 percent of our town’s students. In 2019 it is disheartening and unrealistic to expect so many — let’s face it — mothers to not be at work during weekday afternoons. No wonder Connecticut has an above-average gender pay gap, with an even larger gap for mothers! (See Connecticut’s Gender Pay Gap Among Worst in Nation http://ctboom.com/connecticuts-gender-pay-gap-amongst-worst-in-nation)
Working parents need not only reliable, everyday care, but care that is accessible directly from school with bus drop-offs and until at least 6 p.m. When will Wilton catch up to our neighboring towns and offer child care options that support 21st century families?
Katherine McCabe
Wilton, May 22