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    Weekly News - August 21, 2017

    25% Fewer Children Receiving Care4Kids

    The July Care4Kids numbers have been released. Compared to last year, 7,484 fewer children are being served by this program. The Care4Kids enrollment numbers, broken down by town and age category, can be found HERE(click on the PDF or Excel for July 2017).

    Care4Kids was highlights in a recent article by Nate Lynch at the New London Day. His article featured interviews with child care providers in Southeastern CT, families that utilize Care4Kids, and our Executive Director, Merrill Gay. The article can be found HERE.

    Don't forget - the Alliance is hosting a discussion on Care4Kids on the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving's Early Childhood Collaborative website. To find our discussion, click HERE. You will need a free account to comment.
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    Weekly News - August 14, 2017

    Budget Update

    Although the state is now more than six weeks without a budget, the annual Tax Free week will still take place, as mandated by state statute. This year's tax free holiday is August 20-26, and residents won't have to pay sales tax on most clothing and footwear priced under $100. In the meantime, this tax free holiday means the state will miss out on approximately $4.1 million in revenue that it so desperately needs at this moment. The CT Mirror has MORE 

    Despite no budget, the state will continue to fund Smart Start classrooms, to the tune of $3.3 million, to fund 45 classrooms that enroll 665 children, mostly from low-income households. CT Mirror has MORE. 

    We need to continue to push for new revenue, because cuts alone would be devastating. If you haven't spoken to your legislators recently, do it now. Don't assume your neighbor is doing it - legislators need to hear from all of us. We know for a fact that they're hearing a lot from the "no new taxes" folks and not hearing nearly enough from us. Tell them you support increased revenue, whether it's the income tax, sugar tax, tolls, an increase to the cigarette tax. We CANNOT make cuts only. There has to be a balance and this budget has to be fair and moral.
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    Weekly News - July 31, 2017

    Budget Update

    On July 31, the Senate convened to take on the SEBAC agreement. After hours of debate, the Senate narrowly approved the agreement, with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman offering the "aye" vote to break the tie. Thank you to everyone who made calls yesterday to Senators Slossberg, Hartley and Doyle, the three senators who were on the fence. To read more about what transpired yesterday, click HERE. 

    Now, focus returns to the budget. We are more than a month into the fiscal year without a budget. We need to continue to push for new revenue, because cuts alone would be devastating. Sheldon Toubman, staff attorney for New Haven Legal Aid, sat down with the CT Mirror, to talk about the need to raise revenue, so as not to shred the safety net. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said last week, prior to the Senate vote on the SEBAC agreement, that if the Senate approved the concessions package, the budget shortfall would be in the $200-$400 million range. CT Newsjunkie has more.

    If you haven't spoken to your legislators recently, do it now. Don't assume your neighbor is doing it - legislators need to hear from all of us. We know for a fact that they're hearing a lot from the "no new taxes" folks and not hearing nearly enough from us. Tell them you support increased revenue, whether it's the income tax, sugar tax, tolls, an increase to the cigarette tax. We CANNOT make cuts only. There has to be a balance and this budget has to be fair and moral.

    CABHN (CT Alliance for Basic Human Needs) will host a "part two update" on the state budget, with CT Voices for Children's Ray Noonan presenting. The event takes place Friday, August 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 21 Oak Street, Hartford (building that houses CEA, first floor). There is no RSVP necessary.

    CT Voices for Children Issues New Report: Accessing Quality in CT's Early Childhood System

    CT Voices for Children released a new report on July 24, entitled "Accessing Quality in CT's Early Childhood System," which compares NAEYC accredited programs to Perry Preschool, Abecedarian, and CARE. Among the top findings: 

    • The best models for early care and education show significant enduring benefits in children’s test scores, graduation rates, employment, earnings, and other areas.
    • High-quality early care and education has two key components: responsive classroom experiences plus wrap-around supports to meet the needs of the whole child and the family.
    • Although most ECE programs in Connecticut do not include rigorous wrap-around supports, our state’s early childhood system as a whole includes those supports.
    • Connecticut’s NAEYC-accredited ECE programs are roughly comparable to the best available models and bring an estimated $2.3 billion in long-term returns to the state.
    • Despite recent efforts to improve the quality of care, increasing access to care remains a significant challenge, especially for low-income families.

     Recommendations to Improve Quality and Access

    • Preserve funding for wrap-around service programs for early childhood.
    • Continue current Office of Early Childhood quality improvement efforts, with greater involvement of parents and ECE providers.
    • Prioritize access to care for low-income families.

    A few weeks prior to this report's released, CT Voices also released The Economic Benefits of High-Quality Early Care, in which the organizations estimated the value of current high-quality programs, the value CT would gain from high-quality care for all children who need it, and the value lost through keeping Care 4 Kids closed. The report was the topic (along with a teaser of the new report) on WICC 600 AM's "Coffee Break Chat." Click HERE to listen.

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    Weekly News - July 24, 2017

    Budget Update

    As we all know by now, there was no budget vote on July 18. However, what did happen on July 18 - SEBAC (State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition) announced the results of union voting for a concessions package - one that many of the proposed budgets are built on for savings. Union members voted 83%-17% to approve of the package, which includes wage freezes, increased contributions for health insurance and pensions, and other benefit-related concessions. The deal, while agreed upon by the unions, needs to be ratified by the legislature. CT Mirror has more. 

    Legislators were summoned to Hartford on Monday for a veto override session, which is constitutionally-required. They voted to override one of the governor's vetoes, but they did not take on the budget. The House did vote to narrowly pass (78-72) the SEBAC agreement. It now goes to the Senate for its vote, expected July 31. CT Newsjunkie has more.  

    Many groups are keeping the pressure on and urging their legislators to increase revenue. During an event at the Capitol last Tuesday, five people, three in wheelchairs, were arrested and charged with trespassing for refusing to leave Governor Malloy's Office. They wanted to make it known that an austerity budget was not acceptable. They wanted revenue options seriously considered.  

    If you haven't spoken to your legislators, do it now. Don't assume your neighbor is doing it - legislators need to hear from all of us. We know for a fact that they're not hearing nearly enough from us. Tell them you support increased revenue, whether it's the income tax, sugar tax, tolls, an increase to the cigarette tax. We CANNOT make cuts only. There has to be a balance and this budget has to be fair and moral. Last Friday, Chuck Collins, an author, editor and child of the "one-percent," spoke on WNPR's "Where We Live," noting that those who can afford it, should pay their fair share in making the state a better place for everyone to live. To listen to the full interview, click HERE. 

    Also, if you've been more than a little confused with all the budget proposals out there, this helpful graph shows each of the proposals, including mini-budgets and caucus proposals, and plots out what each budget proposes in terms of the Office of Early Childhood, Birth-to-Three and Care4Kids.

    A Look at the Budget Proposals
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    Weekly News - July 3, 2017

    Budget Update

    July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, has come and gone, and Connecticut lawmakers did not pass a budget. That means the governor is currently running the state by executive order, until a budget is passed. Democrats are discussing a possible special session on July 18 to pass their own budget, and in the proposal as it currently stands, Care4Kids will remain closed to new applicants. 

    CT Mirror and CT Newsjunkie have both reported on the close of the 2017 Fiscal Year and what's potentially ahead in the coming weeks and months in the state.

    Richard Sussman, Director of Early Childhood Investments at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, penned an op-ed to the CT Mirror's CT Viewpoints, to urge the legislature to keep the Office of Early Childhood intact (the Democratic budget seeks to transfer the OEC to SDE). 

    And an op-ed in the New London Day urges lawmakers to avoid an austerity budget (a primarily cut-only and reducing taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations). Connecticut needs revenue as an option to balance the budget. 


    Time is running out to be heard. PLEASE contact your legislators!

    CALL, EMAIL/FACEBOOK, WRITE, REPEAT

    Messages below are suggestions – feel free to write your own!

    1. Call your legislators (1 phone call each to your State Senator and State Representative)

    Phone Message:  My name is (your name).  I am (director, teacher, parent) at (name of center) in (location).  Please help to ensure Care4Kids is funded at $155 million in the budget.  Care4Kids helps families afford child care.  With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen.  Please do that and fund Care4Kids.

                Senate Democrats  - 860-240-8600 or 800-842-1420

                Senate Republicans - 860-240-8800 or 800-842-1421  

                House Democrats - 860-240-8585 or 800-842-8267

                House Republicans - 860-240-8700 or 800-842-1423                       

    2. Email your legislators.  Thanks to the YMCA's for letting us use their easy tool. Fill out the form and an email will automatically be sent to your state legislators

    3. Use Facebook's Town Hall app.  Great how to use video   Type this message (or write your own):

    Please help to ensure that Care4Kids, the state’s child care subsidy, is funded. $155 million is needed to serve the same number of children as the program served in August of last year. Care4Kids helps children get early education and  parents to work. With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen. Please do that and fund Care4Kids.

    4. Twitter.  Many legislators use twitter.  Send them a tweet.

    @insert your legislator Over 6,000 have already lost Care4Kids.  More revenue needed to support Care4Kids in the budget. #fairbudget

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  • Featured post

    Weekly News - June 26, 2017

    Budget Update

    Merrill Care4Kids

    From what we understand, there will be no budget plan to vote on by the end of the fiscal year, which means that starting July 1, Governor Malloy will have authority over the budget to keep the state running until an actual budget is passed. That means Care4Kids remains closed, which will impact families and child care providers who rely on it.  Governor Malloy has released a "Resource Allocation Plan" for FY 2018. To read more about it, click HERE. Office of Early Childhood line items can be found on page 79 of the document. Notably, the plan keeps child care services (School Readiness and CDCs), annualizes Birth-3 funding, cuts Care4Kids as originally proposed ($7.4 million), eliminates Community Plans and Even Start, and there's a Children's Trust Fund increase to fund Help Me Grow. PLEASE CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC TO WATCH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.


    Time is running out to be heard. PLEASE contact your legislators!

    CALL, EMAIL/FACEBOOK, WRITE, REPEAT

    Messages below are suggestions – feel free to write your own!

    1. Call your legislators (1 phone call each to your State Senator and State Representative)

    Phone Message:  My name is (your name).  I am (director, teacher, parent) at (name of center) in (location).  Please help to ensure Care4Kids is funded at $155 million in the budget.  Care4Kids helps families afford child care.  With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen.  Please do that and fund Care4Kids.

                Senate Democrats  - 860-240-8600 or 800-842-1420

                Senate Republicans - 860-240-8800 or 800-842-1421  

                House Democrats - 860-240-8585 or 800-842-8267

                House Republicans - 860-240-8700 or 800-842-1423                       

    2. Email your legislators.  Thanks to the YMCA's for letting us use their easy tool. Fill out the form and an email will automatically be sent to your state legislators

    3. Use Facebook's Town Hall app.  Great how to use video   Type this message (or write your own):

    Please help to ensure that Care4Kids, the state’s child care subsidy, is funded. $155 million is needed to serve the same number of children as the program served in August of last year. Care4Kids helps children get early education and  parents to work. With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen. Please do that and fund Care4Kids.

    4. Twitter.  Many legislators use twitter.  Send them a tweet.

    @insert your legislator Over 6,000 have already lost Care4Kids.  More revenue needed to support Care4Kids in the budget. #fairbudget

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    Weekly News - June 19, 2017

    Budget Update

    Our friends at CT Association for Human Services (CAHS) took a closer look at the end of the session and what having no budget heading into the middle/end of June means. There is significant pressure on the General Assembly to pass a budget before July 1. CAHS explains WHY (scroll to the "What to Watch for in the Coming Months" section). 

    One small bright spot for childcare providers - with no budget currently in place, the background fee increase from $50 to $75 that was part of all budget proposals won't take effect until a budget is signed. State Police will no longer waive the $50 fee as they have in the past.

    CT Voices for Children to Host Budget Webinar

    CT Voices for Children will host "A Better Approach for the State Budget," on Wednesday, June 21, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., on YouTube livestream. During this webinar, CT Voices will provide an overview of the state budget, solutions to avoid another "cuts only" approach and ways to take action. Click HERE to register.  

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    Weekly News - June 5, 2017

    Budget Update

    On June 1, the Alliance hosted CT Voices for Children at its monthly meeting. The main topic was the budget, or lack-there-of.  No one is expecting a budget to be in place before the end of session on June 7. Some are holding out hope for a budget by the end of the fiscal year (June 30). The more realistic expectation is this will take a lot longer. Leaders are likely to negotiate throughout the summer and call rank-and-file in for a special session when they have a deal in place. If there is no budget in place by July 1, the Governor has enormous power to manage state spending, including recessions and withholding payments. 

    All four budget proposals keep Care4Kids closed - noNe of the budgets would re-open it the way it was one year ago. Democrats and Senate GOP put a little bit more money in that could start to take families off the waiting list, but the Governor and House GOP maintain a hard closure. The Democratic budget and Senate GOP budget seeks to dissolve the OEC into the State Department of Education. The Governor's budget proposes a 50% cut to Family Resource Centers, where the Democrats propose a 25% cut. All four proposals eliminate Help Me Grow (a model program for the country), Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, and reduce Early Head Start. None of these budget proposals have enough votes to pass before the end of the session.

    CT Voices for Children has done an analysis of the proposals and the impact the proposals have on what is known as "The Children's Budget." (NOTE: This report was completed before the Senate GOP put out a new proposal. An addendum is expected to be released.) CT Public News Service takes a closer look at the impact on The Children's Budget and how new revenue options must be considered. 

    NOW is the time to contact your legislators. They need to hear from their constituents. Other groups and organizations will be fighting for their piece of the budget pie as well, so contact your legislators and tell them to protect children and families in Connecticut. Tell them not to dissolve the Office of Early Childhood, tell them not to make cuts to FRCs, tell them not to eliminate Help Me Grow, Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, or reduce Early Head Start. Tell them Care4Kids must be fully-funded at $157 million (you can email your legislators HERE if you haven't already regarding Care4Kids). Bottom line is we NEED NEW REVENUE. A Care4Kids video to share on social media and with your networks can be found below. We are working on other actions and will share these actions once finalized.

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    Weekly News - May 30, 2017

    Budget Update

    There's no getting around it - Connecticut is in a real mess when it comes to its fiscal house. We are looking at a fundamental change in the way the state budgets going forward. While it's easy to get caught up in each line item, the overall fight to maintain funding is what is important now. Several of the budget proposals seek to eliminate the Office of Early Childhood, which has only been in existence since 2014, and scatter its services back to various departments, including DSS and SDE. The governor and state employee union leaders have struck a tentative deal for employee concessions, but that plan has to be approved by the unions. The two remaining commissions, which had combined from six distinct commissions just last year, face elimination. There are cuts across all agencies - that help parents, grandparents, etc. The proposals make drastic cuts to core human services. We need to take care of our people. We need to stand together to protect what's important to us - all of us - as our very state landscape is at stake.

    A deficit mitigation plan for the current budget passed in the Senate Tuesday and House on Wednesday. The plan would resolve the Birth to Three deficiency. The CT Mirror has more HERE and HERE. 

    Federally, the Trump Administration released its budget plan. Many have called it "disastrous" and "an assault on the poor and vulnerable." According to CLASP, "the request claims to balance the budget in 10 years by slashing $1.7 trillion from virtually every program that helps reduce poverty and support ordinary working Americans—Medicaid and CHIP, nutrition assistance, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, support for people with disabilities, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – on top of $54 billion in 2018 cuts to domestic programs already previewed in the so-called 'skinny budget' two months ago." CLASP gives a full overview HERE. For Connecticut in particular, the proposed budget would, "rip Connecticut's safety net for the poor." CT Mirror takes a closer look at the impact for the state, if this budget were to pass. 

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    Weekly News - May 15, 2017

    Budget Update

    All four caucuses and the Governor's Office have proposed budgets. Remember this is still the negotiating phase and you may find your program is in one budget but not another. As deliberations continue, it's important for lawmakers to hear from their constituents with a clear message: we cannot cut our way out of a budget deficit. Many of these programs are already operating at bare bones, and further cuts or complete elimination will hurt Connecticut families. We need to look at revenue options, including the sugar sweetened beverage tax. When it comes to the budget, we need you to call your legislators and tell them to protect programs and services that children and families rely on in CT. Tell them you support revenue options like the sugar sweetened beverage tax. We need to make it clear that we vote and that while business and industry is important to our economy, so are the families that live here. 

    That said, please remember our Care4Kids efforts, including the LINK to contact your legislators (you do not have to write a new message - it's pre-written for you to send to your senator, representative, and Governor Malloy), or join the Thunderclap (which will use your social media (Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr), to push out a common message at the same time to amplify our presence). To protect Connecticut's vulnerable families who need to work and care for their children, Care4Kids funds CANNOT be cut any further. Contact your legislators through this YMCA advocacy tool LINK and to learn more about the campaign, click HERE. You can also join our THUNDERCLAP, which will use your social media (Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr), to push out a common message at the same time to amplify our presence. Click HERE to support the Thunderclap! We've hit our 100 supporters, but the more who sign on, the larger our reach will be!

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