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    Care4Kids Enrollment Update

    Uptick in Care4Kids Enrollment, but Room for More Applicants

    925 children were enrolled in Care4kids during the month of February, bringing the total to 15,305. That is still 7,652 short of peak enrollment in August 2016. The February enrollment figures were the largest monthly increase since the program reopened in November, after 15 months of closure.

    “We are glad that word is spreading that the program is now open and processing applications pretty quickly,” said Merrill Gay, the executive director of the CT Early Childhood Alliance.

    Care4Kids can help with cost of child care for families earning up to 50% of the state median income ($55,074 for a family of 4).

    “Child care for two small children can easily exceed the cost of rent or a mortgage just about anywhere in Connecticut” Gay added.

    Families can get information about the program at www.ctcare4kids.com or by calling 1-888-214-5437.

    Town-by-Town Care4Kids Numbers (February 2018)

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    Weekly News - April 9, 2018

    Care4Kids Enrollment is Open - Register Now!

    Just a reminder that if you haven't enrolled in the Care4Kids program, now is the time to do so - the wait list is clear, so the application process goes relatively quick, once eligibility is established. Visit http://www.ctcare4kids.com/ or call 1-888-214-KIDS (5437).

    April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

    The month of April is a time to raise awareness of child abuse. Child abuse comes in many forms - it's not just physically laying hands on a child. It can be constant verbal abuse. It can be inappropriate touching and sexual abuse. We know that children are inquisitive and they may have questions. Prevent Child Abuse America is offering weekly parenting tips on the subject. The current topic is "Answering Questions from Children About Abuse and Neglect." If you need help answering children's questions, click HERE.  On Thursday, April 12, the Alliance, along with organizations across Hartford, will wear blue and in some cases, plant pinwheel gardens, to raise awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    Along with the April awareness, a new study has come out that shows the Parents As Teachers (PAT) evidence-based home-visiting model has demonstrated a significant decrease in child maltreatment when home-visiting services are delivered through scaled-up, statewide home visiting program. To read the study, click HERE.

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    Weekly News - March 26, 2018

    Federal Update: More Child Care Funding, But SNAP Targeted in Farm Bill

    Good news for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Late last week, the U.S. House and Senate passed the omnibus spending bill, which keeps the government running through September, and on Friday, President Trump signed it. The spending bill includes $2.37 billion for CCDBG, which helps states fund child care subsidies, like Care4Kids. CCDBG funding was increased by 80%. This would mean Connecticut should expect approximately $15 million coming from the federal government for child care. Besides CCDBG, the bill also increases:

    • A $610 million increase for Head Start ($115 million of that for Early Head Start that will be used for Early Head Start expansion or Early Head Start/child care partnerships)
    • A $35 million increase for CCAMPIS that funds child care for mothers in college
    • A $20 million increase for 21st Century Community Learning Centers which supports after school programs
    • A $11.4 million increase for Part C of IDEA
    • A $12.8 million increase for Part B Sec 619 of IDEA
    • Flat funding for Preschool Development Grants at $250 million

    CT Mirror has MORE.

    But with the good news, comes some concerning news. Congress is on a two-week recess until April 9. When members return, they are expected to take up the Farm Bill, which includes the SNAP program, and is reauthorized every five years. Many advocates are concerned about potentially harmful cuts and changes (changes such as the "USDA Food Packages," stricter eligibility requirements, stricter work requirements). According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) intends to proceed with the Farm Bill without negotiating a bipartisan agreement. So during the two week recess, this is the time to contact your Members of Congress. While there is no Connecticut representation on the House Agriculture Committee, they need to hear that there’s strong opposition to SNAP cuts and harmful changes in the Farm Bill. Members of the House will have to analyze Chairman Conaway’s version of the Farm Bill and decide if they will support it. Over in the Senate, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) continues to work on a bipartisan proposal in the Senate for action this spring. It is expected the House version will be marked up in mid-April. 

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    Weekly News - March 19, 2018

    Keep Up Your Advocacy!

    We are about halfway through the short legislative session. Thanks to everyone who has advocated for young children and to those who came to our March Advocacy Day. Going forward, we expect the legislature's budget proposal to be released April 5

    To keep up with the bills the Alliance is tracking, you can visit the bills page of our website.

    This past week, several bills of interest passed out of committees:

    • The two Paid Family and Medical Leave bills - S.B. 1 and H.B. 5387 - passed out of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave thanks everyone who has helped push the legislation thus far. If you would like to continue doing so, click HERE for more information.
    • The Banking Committee passed a bill along party lines that would create a task force to look at ways to finance the removal of lead from thousands of Connecticut homes. Connecticut Health I-Team (C-HIT) has MORE (written before the vote, but gives context to the overall bill).
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    Weekly News - March 12, 2018

    Call Your Members of Congress Regarding CCDBG Funding!

    Back in February, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that included a bipartisan budget deal to keep the government funded through March 23, 2018. The bill also allowed appropriators to incorporate new, higher, spending caps into a FY2018 Omnibus spending bill, that includes an unprecedented $5.8 billion in funding over two years for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDBG). While Congress created a framework to double CCDBG funding, it has not actually allocated that money and time is running out to March 23If you have not called your members yourself, please do so now. Please call your U.S. Senators (Senators Blumenthal and Murphy) and your Congressional representatives, (ie, Rep. Larson, Rep. Courtney, Rep. Delauro, Rep. Himes, Rep. Esty). To find your Rep, click HERE. To contact both Senators, click HERE.

    Here’s a script:

    As a supporter of child care and early learning, I urge you to ensure that the Labor Health and Human Services and Education allocation is sufficient to sustain the CCDBGincrease included in the budget deal as well as the highest possible amount for other early learning programs. We hope that Congress is able to complete the FY 2018 process by March 23rd so that states can use the $5.8 billion over two years  to help more mothers work, more children have a strong early learning experience and more providers receive the support they need.

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    Weekly News - March 5, 2018

    Advocacy Day Success!

    Thank you to everyone who made their way to Hartford for the Alliance's annual Advocacy Day. Attendees packed the Old Judiciary Room to hear more about the budget impact on young children, the state of Care4Kids, child health and well-being, workforce and safety issues, and what advocates can do beyond advocacy day to keep early childhood issues in the minds of legislators. Several legislators joined us, including Rep. Michelle Cook, Rep. Bobby Sanchez, Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, Rep. Matthew Lesser and Rep. Tim Ackert. Many attendees asked if the slides from the PowerPoint presentations would be available - they can be found HERE on our website. We also have photos from the event that can be found on our FB page (search CT Early Childhood Alliance). If you have photos from the day that you would like to share, please feel free to email them to Jessica at jessica@earlychildhoodalliance.com. And thank you to everyone who shared photos with the hashtag #CTECAdvocacy18 on social media! 

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    Weekly News - February 26, 2018

    Advocacy Day is Coming - Are You Ready?

    ONE WEEK TO GO! The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance will host its annual Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the program runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by meetings with your local legislators. To register, visitwww.earlychildhoodalliance.com/calendar. We encourage you to wear red to the event to unite us as a group and make us more visible throughout the Capitol during the day.

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    Weekly News - February 19, 2018

    Take a Stand for Child Care

    Sign our petition TODAY! Let's urge our Members of Congress to co-sponsor and/or support the Child Care for Working Families Act. The Child Care for Working Families Act works to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care for all children who need it. Passing this child care bill would mean:

    • Lowering the percentage of a family’s income spent on child care to 7 percent, making child care affordable.
    • More than doubling the number of children eligible for child care assistance, and ensuring all those who are eligible have the ability to enroll their child in a quality program.
    • Supporting universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all low- and middle-income three- and four-year-olds
    • Ensuring that all child care workers are paid a living wage.
    • Building more inclusive, high-quality child care facilities for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
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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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