Testing Solutions That Help Families Access Child Care


Care 4 Kids is a program that helps families access affordable child care. Run by United Way, and sponsored by Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC), the program requires participants to apply and meet certain eligibility criteria.

As a backlog of applications grew, families who relied on these subsidies became increasingly frustrated. Many struggled with long wait times, confusion around the status of their application, and unclear communication around whether their benefits were renewed.

In late 2019, OEC and United Way sought solutions to streamline and instill trust in the application process.


Within 4 weeks, Bloom developers helped create a minimum viable product that made it easier for parents to access information about their application status. They worked in a tech stack the United Way team was familiar with and could confidently maintain, using Ruby on Rails and Twilio to send texts and Capistrano to deploy to on-premises servers. The pilot project allowed parents to learn via short message service (SMS), or text messaging, when United Way received documents for their Care 4 Kids application. Parents were also able to opt into receiving additional information around processing timelines.

The pilot involved nearly 180 participants over 3 months. And surveys were conducted before and after the trial.


Following the pilot, participants rated an increased satisfaction regarding Care 4 Kids communication. They were also 19% more confident that United Way received their forms. The pilot project also helped provide more recommendations on additional needs in the application process.

[I] thought messages were very helpful. You never know when Care 4 Kids receives documents, so it was great to know. Very convenient!"
Pilot participant

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