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    Weekly News - June 11, 2018

    Continuing Education Scholarships Available

    If you're an early childhood educator looking to further your education, the CT Office of Early Childhood has its scholarship registration open at this time. The OEC is tentatively covering requests to March 1, 2019. More information is available through the CT OEC Early Childhood Professional Registry. You must have a registry account to apply. More information is available at "Scholarship At-A-Glance."

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    Weekl News - May 28, 2018

    Deadline Extended on CCDF Plan Feedback to 5/31

    The Office of Early Childhood has released the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan. Note that CT’s Care 4 Kids child care subsidy program is supported through CCDF funding. The three-year plan must be submitted to the federal Office of Child Care near the end of June 2018. On May 6, the OEC presented on the CCDF State Plan. Here is the PowerPoint presentation. The actual plan can be found HERE. The OEC is asking for feedback and input from families, providers and other stakeholders. The Alliance summarized the plan, which is about 170 pages long. The Alliance has its official comments HERE. The public may submit feedback electronically through an online survey tool.

    Online Survey Tool:
    Feedback may be submitted electronically through the online survey tool. It is recommended that users review the plan prior to completing the online tool. The online survey tool will be available through May 31, 2018.

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    Weekly News - May 21, 2018

    UPDATED: CCDF Plan Released; Feedback Due by May 31

    The Office of Early Childhood has released the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan. Note that CT’s Care 4 Kids child care subsidy program is supported through CCDF funding. The three-year plan must be submitted to the federal Office of Child Care near the end of June 2018. On May 6, the OEC presented on the CCDF State Plan. Here is the PowerPoint presentation. The actual plan can be found HERE. The OEC is asking for feedback and input from families, providers and other stakeholders. The Alliance summarized the plan, which is about 170 pages long. The Alliance has its official comments HERE. The public may submit feedback electronically through an online survey tool.

    Online Survey Tool:
    Feedback may be submitted electronically through the online survey tool. It is recommended that users review the plan prior to completing the online tool. The online survey tool will be available through May 31, 2018.

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    Weekly News - May 7, 2018

    Last Hours of the 2018 Legislative Session

    The legislative session ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. There will be a flurry of activity between now and 11:59. We are closely watching three bills that have passed the House, but have not yet been taken up by the Senate.

    House Bills 5169, 5449, and 5450 have all passed through the House and are now awaiting action in the Senate. CALL YOUR SENATORS and ask that these three bills be placed on the Senate Consent Calendar.

    HB 5169 - Among the provisions, this bill would make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care, thus helping them work and change their situations. The bill also fixes an error that creates unreasonable background checks and requirements on grandmothers and other family members that are caring for children using Care4Kids.

    HB 5449 - This bill will allow the OEC to prioritize infants and toddlers if there is a Care4Kids wait list. It would make it easier for the OEC to adjust provider rates for School Readiness and state-funded centers.

    HB 5450 - Would push back the 50/50 and Bachelor's degree requirement deadline by two years and require the OEC to prepare a report evaluating these requirements and the issues the field has had in meeting these requirements.

    Please call now! Senate Democrats: 860-240-8600 and Senate Republicans: 860-240-8800

    Senate Bill 256 has passed both chambers of the General Assembly. Thanks to all who made phone calls to get this bill passed. Your voices were heard! This bill would allow legislators to request a racial and ethnic impact statement on any bill before the General Assembly. This will be an important tool to understand and address inequity in public policy. It now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature.

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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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