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    Weekly News - February 12, 2018

    Budget Update: Hearings Begin on CT's Biennium Budget

    The Appropriations Committee will hold state agency budget presentations and public hearings from Thursday, February 15 through Friday, February 23. Public speaker order for the public hearings will be determined by a lottery system. Numbers will be drawn from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the LOB First Floor Atrium and from 10:15 until 1 p.m. in Room 2700. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names places at the end of the speaker list. The list of speakers registered through the lottery system will be posted outside the designated hearing room two hours prior to the start of the public hearing. Please submit 30 copies of written testimony at the time of sign-up, but no later than 2 p.m. Testimony received after the the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing. Please email written testimony in Word or PDF format toAPPtestimony@cga.ct.gov. A full list of hearings can be found on the CGA website under "Public Hearings," then "Appropriations Committee." Public hearings of interest include:

    Wednesday, February 21 (Room 2C)

    Human Services

    10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - Department of Children and Families

    11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Department of Social Services

    6 p.m. - Public Hearing

    Thursday, February 22 (Room 2C)

    Elementary and Secondary Education

    1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Department of Education

    2 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Office of Early Childhood

    5 p.m. Public Hearing

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    Weekly News - February 5, 2018

    Care4Kids is Open for Business and Processing Applications

    Care4Kids is now taking applications without a waitlist. Please spread the word to eligible families! Our friends at CAHS have created a blog post focused on Care4Kids. Please direct parents to call Care4Kids directly for now, at 1-888-214-KIDS (5437), rather than 211, or visit the "Contact Us" page for Care4Kids.

    In addition, we're looking for families who are willing to talk to the press about how hopeful they are, now that they have access to Care4Kids (preferably someone who has just come off the waitlist - what does it mean to the family, now that they have Care4Kids subsidies?) Please contact Jessica at jessica@earlychildhoodalliance.com with parents willing to share their story.

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    Weekly News - January 29, 2018

    Early Childhood Legislative Caucus Set to Begin

    State Capitol

    The Early Childhood Legislative Caucus will start on Monday, February 5, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The meeting will take place in the conference room at the top of the elevator of the LOB (where caucus meetings are usually held).

    Eliminating Childhood Lead Exposure: A Facebook Livestreaming Event

    On Thursday, February 8, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Child Trends will host a livestreaming lecture and discussion on why childhood lead exposure is still a problem in the United States and the developing world, and what we can do to eliminate it. The keynote speaker is Mary Jean Brown, a nationally recognized expert on lead poisoning from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A moderated discussion, with questions from the live audience and social media viewers will follow. To RSVP to the event on Facebook, click HERE (you will have to log into your Facebook account). 

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    Weekly News - January 22, 2018

    Help Increase Federal Child Care Funding!

    Amidst the federal budget negotiations, there is an opportunity to increase child care funding. Please add your name to our letter that will be sent to the Connecticut Congressional delegation. We need your sign-on by this Friday, January 26. To read the letter and sign on, please click HERE. You are encouraged to share with other organizations that might be interested. If you have any questions, please call Merrill at860-978-2767.

    CHIP Receives Six-Year Extension

    Families using CHIP in Connecticut and around the country can breathe a sigh of relief. As part of negotiations on a temporary federal government spending bill, the CHIP program has been reauthorized for six years. That means the nine million children, including 17,000 in Connecticut, will continue receiving care. CT Mirror has MORE, including one of the reasons why both CT Senators voted against the temporary spending bill - that Community Health Care Centers, where many children on HUSKY B go for care, were not funded. 

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    Weekly News January 16, 2018

    CT Voices for Children's Budget Webinar and Upcoming Budget Forum

    On Wednesday, January 17, CT Voices for Children will host "The State Economy, the State Budget, and the State of Our Children" webinar, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

    The budget passed by the General Assembly in October was much more than a budget document. In addition to severe cuts, the General Assembly also imposed sweeping changes to the state's constitutional spending cap, along with several new budget restrictions. These rules could dramatically weaken Connecticut's ability to make children and families a priority, and hamper the strategic investments to long-term economic growth.

    The coming legislative session will be crucial. These four new fiscal restrictions (bond cap, spending cap, volatility cap and bond lock) have the potential to make all efforts moot. Unless they are addressed, fixed costs will crowd out spending for children and families, with the legislature constrained to only austerity budgeting.

    In the webinar, Ellen Shemitz, Executive Director of CT Voices for Children, and Ray Noonan, Associate Policy Fellow, will explore these pressing budgetary issues before the state legislature this session. On the agenda:

    • The state of Connecticut's economy, and why it matters for the state budget.
    • The state of Connecticut's budget, with an overview on revenues and liabilities
    • The state of our children, and how the state has shifted away from its priorities.
    • The new fiscal restrictions in the budget, and how they might impede future growth.
    • How to chart a path towards fact-based, equitable solutions.

    The webinar will be broadcast live at the CT Voices website and YouTube page. You can register right through the website link.

    In addition, CT Voices for Children will hold its 17th Annual Budget Forum, on Tuesday, January 30, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol. To register, click HERE.

    As CT Voices for Children gears up for what is sure to be another difficult fiscal year, the forum will explore some of the most pressing budgetary issues before the state legislature this session, including:

    • New fiscal restrictions
    • The declining Children's Budget
    • Surging pension costs
    • Fundamental tax reforms
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    Weekly News - January 8, 2018

    Infant/Toddler Data Available for Two New Regions

    Not only does the CT Early Childhood Alliance have data available on Hartford and New Haven regions, but we've now added data for New Britain and Waterbury regions. If you have a meeting you would like the data presented at, please contact Samantha Dynowski to set it up. Click on our graphic to bring you to the data page:

    Who are the babies?
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    Weekly News - December 11, 2017

    Infant/Toddler Data Available for Hartford and New Haven Regions

    The CT Early Childhood Alliance has data available on Hartford and New Haven region. If you have a meeting you would like the data presented at, please contact Samantha Dynowski to set it up. Click on our graphic to bring you to the data page:

    Who are the babies?

    Study Shows That When Parents Have Insurance, Child's Health & Well-Being Improves

    The Center for Children and Families blogs about a new study that provides more evidence that children’s health and well-being improve when parents have health coverage. Click HERE for more.
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    Weekly News - November 28, 2017

    Governor Makes Adjustments to Budget

    When the bi-partisan, veto-proof budget passed last month, the governor was mandated by the legislature to make $880 million in cuts. The governor has done so. Municipal aid, social service programs, and higher education, as well as labor cost-cutting agreed upon during concession talks, are all seeing holdbacks and lapses. To read more about it, click to CT Mirror and CT NewsJunkie. 

    To early childhood advocates, the following might be of interest:
    School-Based Health Clinics - cut $420,780
    Family Programs (TANF) - cut $287,498 
    K-3 Reading Assessment Pilot - cut $246,158
    Evenstart - between targeted savings and delayed start, cut - $142,257
    2Gen/TANF - between targeted savings and delayed start, cut - $337,500
    Head Start Services - cut $103,740

    Federal Updates - Tax Bill, Government Shutdowns and CHIP

    Congress has a lot to do in a short period of time. The president is pressing hard for a vote on a tax bill by Christmas. Versions working through Congress would make enormous changes to the current tax structure, potentially creating huge budget deficits in the future. The government is also in danger of a shutdown if there is no year-end spending package in place, and states, including Connecticut, are getting really worried about the status of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has not been re-authorized. Governor Malloy has stated that Connecticut has about a month's worth of funds left for the program. WTNH Channel 8 covered it locally.  New York Magazine has MORE. There is a chance that Congress could wrap it into the year-end spending package.

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    Weekly News - November 13, 2017

    Care4Kids Resources and Opportunities for Help

    We hope you all opened your emails from us last week to find the news that Care4Kids was reopening to families on the waiting list. If you missed the official announcement from the Governor's Office, you can find it HERE. The CT Office of Early Childhood has set up a link with FAQs about Care4Kids, as well as a letter to providers. Both can be found HERE. In addition, the OEC is also scheduling application help sessions for families across the state. Dates and times can be found HERE. New locations are being added, so check the link frequently.
    NBC CT Care4Kids
    Press coverage included an article in the Hartford Courant on Friday, November 10, and article in the CT Mirror.  NBC Connecticut also covered the story on Monday, November 13. The reporter spoke to a Hartford-area provider and to OEC Commissioner David Wilkinson. You can watch the full story by clicking on the graphic.
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    Weekly News - November 6, 2017

    What Does the Newly Signed CT Budget Mean for Health?

    Now that the governor has signed the budget, it's time to take a closer look at impact. We've talked about the impacts to early childhood briefly, but now we'll take a look at the impact on oral health. 

    • The budget would reduce the eligibility cutoff for the Husky A parents program from 150% of the federal poverty level to 133%.  Advocates predict this would end health insurance coverage for 9,500 low-income parents, who would have to buy subsidized insurance on the state's insurance exchange. Health insurance bought through the exchange will not cover dental services, which parents had when covered by Medicaid.
    •  Adult non-emergency dental services will have an annual cap of $1000, although medically necessary services or dentures would be obtainable with prior authorization.
    •  There will be cost sharing for adults covered by Medicaid. How this will be implemented is to be determined.
    •  Over 68,000 people who were receiving help to pay premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare will lose those benefits.  This includes anyone with a monthly income over $1005. This means they may have less to spend on dental care, as Medicare does not cover any dental services.
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