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    Weekly News - February 11, 2019

    Commissioner Says Backlog is Not Acceptable as Care4Kids Meeting Draws Large Turnout

    Incoming Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye heard heartbreaking story after story from child care providers on the ongoing Care4Kids backlog - mostly home child care providers - at a forum hosted by the CSEA SEIU Child Care Union on February 2. Many in the packed room recounted long waits for payment - some as far back as October - and the painful consequences they are now facing. One provider said her car has been re-possessed and many face overdraft charges from their banks. Commissioner Bye said additional workers have been added to alleviate the backlog and the call center would be open all weekend. She added that certificates would be extended through the computer system, and with the additional workers, Care4Kids is moving two to three times faster now. But those measures don't make up for the current situation, she said.

    "It's not acceptable," Commissioner Bye said. "I will do everything in my power to make it better," she said, adding that the legislators in the room, including the chairs of the Education Committee, Human Services Committee, and Children's Committee, will do the same.

    Legislators noted they weren't aware of the issue until just a few days before the February 2 meeting. Some were alerted by constituents. That's when they contacted the incoming commissioner, who said she was just finding out as well.

    "You're the boots on the ground," said Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, who represents parts of Meriden and Berlin and co-chairs the Human Services Committee. "Don't assume we know about issues. Tell us."

    All legislators and the commissioner herself encouraged those in attendance to reach out when there is an issue. Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams, who chairs the Children's Committee, said she would begin educating her fellow senators to the issue when she returned to the Capitol on Monday. But she needs help from the providers, encouraging them to reach out to their own senators and representatives as constituents to alert them to the problem.

    "We want to correct this wrong - because it is a wrong," Senator Daugherty Abrams said.

    You can look up your legislators HERE.

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    Weekly News - January 28, 2019

    Alliance Issues 2019 Priorities

    The Alliance has created its list of 2019 Priorities and a survey we ask you to take to let us know if you are in agreement.

    The Alliance 2019 Priorities:

    Improve the Quality of Early Care and Education

    • Raise wages of early educators in state-subsidized child care and preschool programs and index them to future increases in the minimum wage.
    • Raise Care4Kids payment rates to child care providers to the federally recommended 75th percentile of market
    • Ensure parity in funding between various programs providing the same early care and education services

    Support Parents in Raising Thriving Children

    • Adopt Paid Family Medical Leave
    • Require Predictable Work Schedules (with exceptions for industries with legally required staff to client ratios)
    • Fix the broken Birth to Three Early Intervention Program
    • Adopt Two-Generation Strategies to grow the economy and end poverty
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    Weekly News - January 14, 2019

    Special Elections Set for Vacated Senate, House Seats

    With the departure of three senators (Senators Bye, Larson, and Gerratana) and two representatives (Representatives Albis and Soto), to join the new administration, Governor Lamont has announced the date for the upcoming special elections - Tuesday, February 26. These are seats in the 3rd, 5th, & 6th Senate Districts; and 39th and 99th House Districts. To read Governor Lamont's announcement, click HERE.

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    Weekly News - January 7, 2019

    Changes Coming to the Office of Early Childhood, DCF

    You may have seen the email that the Alliance sent out last Wednesday, with an article from the Hartford Courant announcing a change to the CT Office of Early Childhood. Each incoming administration decides who it wants to lead various departments, and last week, news came of a familiar name chosen to lead the CT Office of Early Childhood. On January 9, Senator Beth Bye will not take the oath of office for the 5th Senate District, but will begin the process of becoming the newest commissioner of the OEC (she will need  to go through a confirmation process). This now puts the 5th Senate seat back in play for a special election. Several names have been put forth as potential candidates - this CT Mirror story breaks down the race to fill the seat. To read more about Beth's appointment, click HERE. Photo - Sen. Bye named a 2018 Children's Champion by the CT Early Childhood Alliance.

    Governor-Elect Lamont has also appointed a new Commissioner to the Department of Children and Families. Vanessa Dorantes is currently a DCF administrator, working in the Waterbury-Danbury-Torrington region. She is one of six regional DCF administrators and has worked in the DCF system since 1992. The Hartford Courant profiled Dorantes, who, like Beth Bye, will have to go through the confirmation process. Click HERE to learn more about her.

    The CT Mirror published a story on legislators who have taken new positions within the Lamont Administration. In total, three senators (Bye, Gerratana and Larson) and two representatives (Albis and Soto) have been appointed to new jobs within the administration. Senators Bye and Larson will need legislative confirmation.

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    Weekly News - December 10, 2018

    QRIS Presentation from Alliance Meeting Available

    Michelle Levy of the CT Office of Early Childhood presented on the Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS) at our December Alliance meeting - her presentation is attached. As expected, there were a lot of questions and we ran out of time to answer them all. The QRIS document itself may be ready by the end of the year for review. The presentation is available HERE and we have set up a Google form for questions to be submitted and answered by the OEC.

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    Weekly News - November 26, 2018

    Alliance Meeting Features Presentation on QRIS Plan

    On Thursday, December 6, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the CT Early Childhood Alliance will hold its monthly meeting at Graustein Memorial Fund in Hamden. Our guest presenter will be Michelle Levy from the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to talk about the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) plan. Non-members are allowed to attend two meetings of the Alliance before considering membership. If you would like to attend the December meeting and see what the Alliance is about, please RSVP HERE. Please be ready to start at 9 a.m., as we need to be out of the meeting room promptly at 11 a.m.

    The Alliance Steering Committee will meet following the regular meeting.

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    Weekly News - November 5, 2018

    Today's the Day! Don't Forget to Vote Tuesday, November 6!

    Today is Election Day 2018! Please remember to vote! Make your voice, make your vote, count. Polls are open until 8 p.m. across the state. If you didn't get the chance to register, you can still do same-day registration at a designated location in your city or town. To find your same-day registration location, click HERE. If you are registered, but unsure where to vote, you can check your polling station HERE.

    Please keep children and families in mind when you vote today. The Alliance cannot endorse candidates or political parties, but you can consider candidates who will support essential services for families who need them, candidates who support expanding access to preschool, and candidates who will work to make childcare more affordable. Kids can't vote, so we have to!

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    Weekly News - October 29, 2018

    CT Mirror Article Addresses Delay in CT's QRIS System

    On October 22, the CT Mirror published an article on the current status of the state's Quality Rating and Improvement System for child care providers, as well as a compiled database of state child care programs for parents to review as they seek child care for their children. Remember, another valuable asset in seeking child care is by calling 2-1-1 Child Care. They can assist as well.

    ACA Open Enrollment Begins November 1

    You may have started seeing the TV commercials - the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period through Access Health CT begins on November 1. But with the shortest window of time to sign up for insurance since the ACA became law (until December 15), Access Health CT is allowing consumers to begin "window shopping" prior to the start of enrollment. To learn more, click to the C-HIT story. Remember, CT does not use the national exchange - insurance is obtained here through Access Health CT. More plan information, assistance and renewal can be done at www.AccessHealthCT.com

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    Weekly News - October 15, 2018

    Three Weeks Left!

    Election Day 2018 is just three weeks away! If you haven't registered to vote yet, you can do so online (if you have an ID issued by the DMV), mail in a voter registration form to your town hall (must be postmarked by October 30) or register in person at your town hall on Election Day (although preferred that you register before the October 30 deadline). You can also check to see if you're registered HERE. The Secretary of State's office also offers a wealth of voter information, including information for first-time voters.

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    Weekly News - October 9, 2018

    Thank you for Attending the Forum!

     

      

    Thank you to everyone who attended the gubernatorial candidate forum at CCSU on October 3! We had a great turnout! We hope it was helpful in informing your decisions for the midterm elections. Two of the three main candidates were in attendance and answered questions on topics such as early childhood, family issues, education, affordable housing, etc. If you missed the forum, you can watch it in its entirety on CT-N.

    The forum had some good press coverage, including CT NewsJunkie, New Britain Herald, CT-N, Univision and WFSB.

    Remember, if you haven't registered to vote yet, you can do so online (if you have an ID issued by the DMV), mail in a voter registration form to your town hall (must be postmarked by October 30) or register in person at your town hall on Election Day (although preferred that you register before the October 30 deadline). You can also check to see if you're registered HERE. The Secretary of State's office also offers a wealth of voter information, including information for first-time voters.

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