Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.
 In-Home Care Bloomfield, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Bloomfield, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Bloomfield, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Bloomfield, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Bloomfield, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Bloomfield, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Bloomfield,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Bloomfield, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Bloomfield, CT

Bloomfield selects Florida man as new town manager after lengthy search

The town of Bloomfield has landed on a new town manager, after a search process lasting several months that pared down a list of 30 applicants.Stanley D. Hawthorne, who has spent most of his professional career in various city government positions in Florida, started work on Aug. 31.Where is Stanley D. Hawthorne from?Hawthorne hails from Sebring, Florida — an area in the central part of the state known for its lakes and orange groves, he said.He holds a master’s degree in public administration f...

The town of Bloomfield has landed on a new town manager, after a search process lasting several months that pared down a list of 30 applicants.

Stanley D. Hawthorne, who has spent most of his professional career in various city government positions in Florida, started work on Aug. 31.

Where is Stanley D. Hawthorne from?

Hawthorne hails from Sebring, Florida — an area in the central part of the state known for its lakes and orange groves, he said.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Virginia and joins Bloomfield with over two decades of experience in municipal management. He completed his undergraduate education at Troy University in Alabama in 1982. Most recently he served as the assistant city manager in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from 2011 to 2019.

Hawthorne also served as the city manager in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, a community of about 35,000 people, from 1998 to 2002.

What are Hawthorne’s goals?

Hawthorne said that despite overseeing management of municipal services, he has a simple mission: building community.

The Florida transplant has spent much of his first two weeks in the role on a listening tour, marked by long hours and plenty of meetings. He said he’s in what he calls the “studying, learning and listening phase” to identify the town’s goals for the future, including the implementation of Bloomfield’s long-term Plan of Conservation and Development.

Hawthorne refers to the town council and other department heads as “constituents” or “stakeholders.” For other members of the community, he uses “neighbors,” and stressed his open-door policy.

“When a neighbor, as I call them, needs something, we should do it as an ambassador, recognizing that they’re the boss and we’re here to serve them,” Hawthorne said.

Why did the council choose Hawthorne?

Bloomfield Mayor DeBeatham-Brown, who was on the town council’s search committee, said she and the council were impressed by Hawthorne’s experience working in communities big and small, and by his robust preparation and knowledge of Bloomfield-centered issues.

“We had great candidates this time around, but he stood out a little more than the rest,” DeBeatham-Brown said.

The search committee’s process was more deliberate than in the past, according to DeBeatham-Brown. The council voted last September to enter into a severance agreement with the previous town manager, Robert Smith, after just 13 months, paying him $80,000.

Smith was hired to replace Philip Schenck, who was retiring. Schenck was brought back on an interim basis while the council conducted the search that resulted in Hawthorne’s appointment,

What does the town manager do?

As town manager, Hawthorne serves as Bloomfield’s administrative head, implementing policy set out by the town council and overseeing town departments.

“The role of a manager is to ensure that the vision of the community is known, and we’re putting into place those steps that are necessary strategically to make them happen,” Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne will also play a key role in managing town personnel. As the lone appointee of Bloomfield’s town council, Hawthorne has the authority to appoint most other town employees.

How much are they paying Hawthorne?

Hawthorne will earn $170,000 annually under his contract, which is subject to renewal.

Seamus McAvoy may be reached at [email protected]

Health Department Team Serving West Hartford Honored For Covid Efforts

The National Association of County and City Health Officials recognized the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District.|Updated Wed, Mar 8, 2023 at 11:28 am ETWEST HARTFORD/BLOOMFIELD, CT — A trio of public health professionals that serve West Hartford and Bloomfield were recently honored by their national peers for their work during the pandemic.The National Association of County and City Health Officials recently recognized the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District’s Coalition Against Healthcare-Acquired...

The National Association of County and City Health Officials recognized the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District.

|Updated Wed, Mar 8, 2023 at 11:28 am ET

WEST HARTFORD/BLOOMFIELD, CT — A trio of public health professionals that serve West Hartford and Bloomfield were recently honored by their national peers for their work during the pandemic.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials recently recognized the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District’s Coalition Against Healthcare-Acquired Infections team (CCAH) as its latest "Infection Prevention and Control Champion."

The team comprises Megan Westcott, epidemiologist, Nancy Dupont, infection preventionist, and Janice Gibson, public health nurse.

In the spring of 2022, the health district created the coalition in collaboration with two other local health departments.

Their mission was to educate local long-term health facilities about infectious disease outbreak prevention and reduce negative outcomes associated with COVID, flu, healthcare-acquired infections and microbial-resistant pathogens.

Find out what's happening in West Hartfordwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

"To this day, the team continues to share resources and information at quarterly meetings with facilities in three jurisdictions representing 20 towns and continually seeks opportunities to improve its communication and relationships with their community partners to address ongoing health needs," wrote the Town of West Hartford.

"Congratulations to our team who have been working hard since early on in the pandemic to build relationships with the long-term care facilities in our jurisdiction."

Check out NACCHO’s member spotlight blog here: https://www.naccho.org/blog/articles/whbhd-ipc-champion-2023.

For more information on the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, click on this link.

Bloomfield child care center to close after 'health and safety' issues, mayor says

BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield Early Learning Center will close its doors Friday after a state inspection raised concerns about health and safety, Mayor Danielle Wong said.The state Office of Early Childhood inspected the BELC the week of Jan. 9 and found "a number of areas of non-compliance on the inspection report specifically related to the health and safety of children in following the requirements of the program’s previously issued consent order," Town Manager Stanley Hawthorne said in a statement.Wong d...

BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield Early Learning Center will close its doors Friday after a state inspection raised concerns about health and safety, Mayor Danielle Wong said.

The state Office of Early Childhood inspected the BELC the week of Jan. 9 and found "a number of areas of non-compliance on the inspection report specifically related to the health and safety of children in following the requirements of the program’s previously issued consent order," Town Manager Stanley Hawthorne said in a statement.

Wong did not explain the "health and safety" concerns. Hearst Connecticut Media Group has filed a request for the inspection reports under the state Freedom of Information Act.

The center is subcontracted by the town of Bloomfield and funded through state School Readiness and Child Day Care Contract. Since it is funded through the state, the BELC's non-compliance raised additional concerns for inspectors, according to Hawthorne, who sought to mitigate the issues by providing a plan for continuing the contract with better oversight.

A total of 20 families are affected by BELC's closure. The families can relocate their children to either the First Academy of First Cathedral Church or the Bloomfield Preschool and Childcare Center at Bloomfield Congregational Church.

Bloomfield has 52 child care slots funded through the about $1 million School Readiness and Child Day Care Contract, all of which will be subcontracted to the First Academy and the Bloomfield Preschool and Childcare Center, pending OEC approval.

Following the inspection, Hawthorne shifted oversight of the child care program from the Finance Department to the Social and Youth Services Department.

In his Feb. 23 town manager's report, Hawthorne stated he would recommend "enhanced staffing" for the Social and Youth Services Department now tasked with oversight.

"This was not an easy issue to work through and I want to thank Town Manager Hawthorne for his diligent and calm leadership while working through this urgent matter swiftly and effectively, ensuring we received all the facts, clarification and guidance from OEC before finalizing and submitting our updated plan to OEC for approval," Wong said in a statement.

During Monday's Town Council meeting, Hawthorne said the inspection reports will be available to the public later this week.

"I have never worked in an organization that had responsibility for a day care center," Hawthorne said Monday. "Not the day-to-day responsibility. That's why we contracted it. But the contract is very clear about our oversight abilities and when those things go wrong, we are the department who is supposed to correct it and come up with the plans."

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the town subcontracted the Bloomfield Early Learning Center.

[email protected]

Bloomfield Board of Education approves $53 million budget with no input from parents

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateBLOOMFIELD — The Board of Education unanimously approved a $53 million budget for Bloomfield Public Schools Thursday, an 8.8 percent increase over the previous budget, without a single parent in the audience.Bloomfield Public Schools, known for trailing test scores despite spending significantly more per student than the state ...

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BLOOMFIELD — The Board of Education unanimously approved a $53 million budget for Bloomfield Public Schools Thursday, an 8.8 percent increase over the previous budget, without a single parent in the audience.

Bloomfield Public Schools, known for trailing test scores despite spending significantly more per student than the state average, has consistently increased its budget since the 2014-15 school year, but this year's 8.8 percent increase is the largest single-year increase.

"It's the first time I haven't seen a myriad of parents here," said Board of Education member Howard Frydman at Thursday's meeting. "We love to see our parents. We invited them to come. And we continue to invite you to be with us."

Several factors drove the increase, including a 38 percent increase in the cost for special education transportation. The cost of special education support staff also increased 2.3 percent. Additionally, the cost of "facility supplies" has increased due to inflation, resulting in a 28 percent increase in the budget.

Bloomfield spends $21,496 per pupil per year, according to state data from the 2021-22 school year. The state average is $19,134 per student.

The special meeting, intended as a public hearing, lasted 25 minutes and two Bloomfield residents, neither of whom were parents, spoke out against the sharp budget increase. One was skeptical a budget increase was necessary when student performance continues to stagnate or decline.

"Our school system has consistently requested additional funding that has led neither to improved performance or to the removal of Bloomfield from the state's list of low performing schools," said Kevin Gough, one of the two Bloomfield residents who spoke during public comment.

In grades three through eight, 35.7 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in English/language arts in the 2021-22 school year. Just 20.8 percent met or exceeded expectations in math that year, both numbers reflecting a decline in mastery from the year before.

Board of Education member Robert Ike took issue with the accusation that the board did not care about test scores and shouted his disapproval.

"Everyone here is aware of the test scores," Ike said Thursday. "Every board member. We are not trying to hide anything. We know we have some deficiencies. We are trying to move ahead. I am not here to hide nothing from nobody."

The high number of students in Bloomfield designated as "high needs," as well as the increasing number of students leaving the district for costly outplacements or magnet schools, could be driving up the budget.

Superintendent James Thompson addressed the problem of outplacements in the first paragraph of his budget proposal document.

"Developing the 2023-2024 district budget represented a significant challenge as there were increases associated with out of district tuition costs, transportation and health insurance," Thompson wrote.

Over 65 percent of the students in Bloomfield are considered high needs, according to state data from 2021-22. High needs means the student has a disability, is an English learner or is eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Approximately 20 percent of the student body is considered a "student with a disability."

Currently, the district is spending $2.39 million to send 417 students to out-of-town magnet schools that charge the district tuition. The district also currently pays tuition for 43 out-of-district placements for students with disabilities.

The 2023-24 budget passed Thursday accounts for 24 additional students requiring special education services while attending magnet schools. The total cost of tuition for special education services and magnet schools totaled $6.8 million, a 46 percent increase from the previous school year.

The district shared news about the meeting in a few ways, according to a spokesperson for the district. There are notifications on the Town of Bloomfield website and the Office of the Town Clerk website and an agenda is posted in a glass case in the Board of Education office.

Additionally, the meeting information is posted on the district's website and calendar. A brief about the meeting ran in The Bloomfield Messenger. Lastly, the Feb. 23 superintendent's weekly update included information about the meeting later that night.

A lack of public input is not unique to the budget process. A perusal of meeting minutes from the past several months show that since June, there have been only two public comments at regular meetings other than the two non-parents who spoke against the budget Thursday.

One of the comments was in support of the track team and the other was about the upcoming musical. No meeting in this time period has lasted longer than an hour and 25 minutes, but the budget meeting Thursday was the shortest.

Next, the budget will advance to the Town Council for approval. In the previous year's budget season, the Town Council and Board of Education have agreed on school expenditures, but Mayor Danielle Wong did not speculate on how the council would act this year.

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Food banks ready for influx after ending of SNAP benefit program

The ending of this program means eligible families will lose about $90 each month for food, leaving them to make up for that difference at food banks.BLOOMFIELD, Connecticut — Many states are rolling back on Supplemental SNAP benefits that families relied on throughout the Pandemic for groceries. Connecticut is one of them.Now, food banks are preparing for an influx following the end of this program.“It’s not that we’re expecting it. We’re already seeing it,” said ...

The ending of this program means eligible families will lose about $90 each month for food, leaving them to make up for that difference at food banks.

BLOOMFIELD, Connecticut — Many states are rolling back on Supplemental SNAP benefits that families relied on throughout the Pandemic for groceries. Connecticut is one of them.

Now, food banks are preparing for an influx following the end of this program.

“It’s not that we’re expecting it. We’re already seeing it,” said CT Foodshare President and CEO, Jason Jakubowski.

After nearly three years, the federal government ended pandemic-era payments on Monday for low-income families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

This means eligible families will lose about $90 each month leaving them to make up for that difference at food banks.

“We’re already seeing the increases in the lines at our mobile trucks. We’re seeing an increase in demand at our pantries across the state of Connecticut,” said Jakubowski.

He said they’ve been anticipating this for quite some time.

“We saw it when a lot of the food drives that the federal government was providing us expired. We saw it when child tax credit expired and now, we’re seeing it when this particular benefit expires too,” said Jakubowski.

The boost in benefits has been a lifeline for many people. According to a study from the Urban Institute, the additional benefits were credited with keeping 4.2 million people out of poverty since the fourth quarter of 2021.

“They are going to need to get that food somewhere and they are probably going to come to us and our network in order to get it,” said Jakubowski.

Places like Bloomfield Congregational Church are ready for that influx.

“That’s why we’re connected to people in social services, youth services, and senior services to make sure we’re thinking ahead before it happens so that we can begin to be prepared,” said Pastor Shawn Fisher.

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They have a backpack program where they partner with local schools.

“Every Thursday we pack up a weekend’s worth of food for a family of whatever size that family is. Typically, a family of four to help supplement them to have enough food to get through the weekend,” said Fisher.

Making sure that with this change, people know that they are there.

“We may need to reach back out to the schools, to the social workers, to the community and say we know this is happening. If you didn’t need help before but you do now, we’re still here to help you in the meantime,” said Fisher.

If you are in need or know someone in need, you can go to ctfoodshare.org or call 2-1-1.

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DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]


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