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    Weekly News September 9, 2019

    Membership Invoices Sent Out

    CT Early Childhood Alliance membership invoices have all been sent out. If you have been a member organization and did not receive one, please email Merrill Gay at merrill@earlychildhoodalliance.com to let him know. If you are not a member organization, but would like to be one, you can become a member. What does membership give you? A louder, collective voice at the State Capitol, monthly membership meetings that offer valuable information and guest speakers, a vote for the Alliance officers and steering committee at our October meeting, weekly email updates, and more.  

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    Weekly News August 26, 2019

    CERCLE to Host Mayoral Primary Forum

    If you live or work in New Haven, you might be interested in an upcoming mayoral primary forum, featuring the two Democratic candidates - Mayor Toni Harp and Democratic challenger, Justin Elicker. The conversation for the evening will focus on the future of early childhood care and education for New Haven's children and families of color.

    The event will take place on Wednesday, August 28, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at All Our Kin, 414A Chapel Street, New Haven. Light refreshments will be served and Spanish translation is available. Child care will be provided at Hope Child Development Center at 81 Olive Street in New Haven. Space is limited. To RSVP, please call 203-865-4673 by Tuesday, August 27. 

    The event is hosted by CERCLE, in partnership with HOPE for New Haven, All Our Kin, CT Early Childhood Alliance, and CSEA-SEIU Local 2001.

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    Weekly News August 12, 2019

    3.1 Million People Could Lose SNAP

    Last week, the Trump administration published a new proposed rule targeting women, children, and families in need. This time the administration wants to bypass Congress and cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by restricting broad-based categorical eligibility, a flexibility the majority of states use to extend SNAP to working families with incomes just over the income eligibility cut-off, who often have significant expenses like child care and housing. This threatens SNAP benefits for over 3 million people. It also jeopardizes access to free school meals for hundreds of thousands of children.  

    You can submit comments to the government's Regulations page. There are currently 1,000 public comments. Let's add to it and make our voices heard. Here is a comment template that you can customize. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, September 23. According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Connecticut is one of 40 states that uses broad-based categorical eligibility. 

    Further resources can be found HERE.                 

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    Weekly News August 5, 2019

    We Need YOU to Contact Senator Murphy on Wednesday!

    Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) needs to hear from YOU! Call and tweet to urge his support of AT LEAST $2.4 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which helps pay for Care4Kids. Senator Murphy is a member of an important Senate Committee (HELP Committee), which decides on budget allocations for child care. We need to make sure the Senate's appropriations bill meets or exceeds the U.S. House appropriation for CCDBG.

    Please CALL and TWEET Senator Murphy on Wednesday, August 7. His office phone number is 860-549-8463.

    Sample script (when the staff answers): "Hi,my name is _______ and I live in _______. I have a son/daughter in child care. I'm calling to urge Senator Murphy to support an increase in CCDBG funds by AT LEAST $2.4 billion and Head Start funds by at least $1.5 billion. Thank you."

    TWEET Senator Murphy at @ChrisMurphyCT

    Sample tweets:

    Increased CCDBG funding has allowed Connecticut to improve & expand child care services. Let’s build on that success! @ChrisMurphyCT #FundChildCare

    CCDBG funds have improved child care access, but many families still can’t afford the quality care they need. @ChrisMurphyCT, please support increased CCDBG funding! #FundChildCare

    .@ChrisMurphyCT, we are counting on you to prioritize increased funding for child care in this year’s appropriations bill! #FundChildCare 

    If you if have a Twitter account, but don't use it much, you can re-tweet and like other pertinent posts using the #FundChildCare hashtag. Or, search for us at @CTECA and retweet our tweets.   

    PROVIDERS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK WITH PARENTS - Please consider printing our fliers (full page HERE and two-to-a-page HERE) to hand out to your parents to make the calls and send out tweets.

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    Weekly News July 22, 2019

    BUILD Initiative to Host Immigration and Trauma Webinar

    On Wednesday, July 24, at 2 p.m., the BUILD Initiative will host a webinar on Immigration and Trauma. 

    Recent changes in immigration policy are creating new and intense challenges, including increased trauma, for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families, and the teachers and programs that work with them. With funding from the Irving Harris Foundation, the BUILD Initiative, in partnership with the Center for Law and Social Policy, has organized a series of webinars and blogs intended to help providers, state policy leaders, and advocates work most effectively in this climate.

    Please join the BUILD Initiative in the final webinar in a four-webinar series in which they shared important areas for consideration in the provision of trauma-informed care as it relates to immigration and US immigration policies. Topics have included immigration policy and trauma; the impacts of immigration trauma on the health and development of young children; using a trauma-informed approach in working with providers and families; and promising practices and strategies for policy and legislation.

    This webinar will provide an update to federal policies as well as practical steps programs can take to support vulnerable families and children and the providers who care for them.

    To register for the webinar, click HERE.

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    Weekly News July 15, 2019

    Big Announcement: Rate Increases for Care4Kids Program

    Wednesday morning, the CT Office of Early Childhood announced the first substantial Care4Kids center-based provider rate increase since 2002. Effective September 1, 2019, center-based infant/toddler care rates will increase to the 50th percentile of the market. Preschool rates will increase to the 25th percentile of the market. The dollar amounts of these rate increases vary across the five regions, based on the market cost of care. In the North Central region (Greater Hartford) that includes the most children, the rate for full-time infant/toddler care will increase form $201 per week to $308 per week. The rate for full-time preschool care will increase from $160 to $203 per week. The impact of all this is that parents will have more options for care where they won't have to pay the difference between the tuition cost and the value of the Care4Kids subsidy. In addition to the center-based rate increase, family child care homes also got raises negotiated under the collective bargaining agreement between OEC and CSEA SEIU-2001.

    The rate adjustment has three major benefits: 1) gives parents, particularly those with infants, better buying power and access to child care options; 2) helps stabilize child care providers financially, many of whom are small business owners; 3) and enhances the ability for child care centers to improve the quality of care for developing minds.

    The rates are being increased at the scale necessary to respond to federal requirements to provide greater choice and access to families. The federal government requires 25th percentile for rates and recommends 75th percentile. Connecticut is making great strides with the news today, moving infant/toddler care from the 2nd percentile to the 50th percentile and preschool from the 7th percentile to 25th percentile. Ultimately, this means less out-of-pocket expense for parents and a more economic stability for child care providers. 

    The OEC has updated its rate table (increase is effective as of September 1). It can be found HERE. CT Newsjunkie, CT-N, and WFSB all covered the announcement.

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    Weekly News July 8, 2019

    Fate of ACA Looms in the Balance, as Appeals Court Hears Arguments

    A federal appeals court in New Orleans started hearing arguments in Texas v. United States, which could dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. If it's overturned, the impact on the State of Connecticut, especially when it comes to Medicaid, could be chilling. Protect Our Care CT has put out a press release, a by-the-numbers look at the impact, and a national fact sheet to help people understand the repercussions. Please share this information with your networks. NPR also has a good article on the topic. Click HERE to read more.

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    Weekly News July 1, 2019

    Paid Leave and Budget Signed by Governor

    On Tuesday, June 25, Governor Lamont gathered with a standing room-only crowd in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol, to sign the Paid Family and Medical Leave legislation into law. "It's about time," Governor Lamont said, right before he signed the bill into law. After signing it, he added, "Long overdue - we got it done."

    The Campaign for Paid Family and Medical Leave put out a great resource to answer any questions you may have regarding the new program. It can be found HERE.

    The day after signing PFML into law, Governor Lamont signed the two year, $43 billion budget. As noted previously, this is how early childhood fared:

    • Care4Kids - Federal funds will be used to raise rates to at least the 25th percentile of the market, $5 million increase in state funds in the second year of the budget. It is still unclear if center-based infant-toddler rates will go higher.
    • Parity for CDCs with School Readiness programs
    • School Readiness and CDCs $100 per child/year increase (~1%) in second year of the budget
    • Diaper assistance - $500,000 grant to The Diaper Bank to provide more diapers to families in need
    • Money for background checks through October 1
    • Raising the eligibility limit to restore HUSKY coverage to 4,000 parents
    • Birth to Three line item increased by $1.4 million in FY20 and an additional $606,443 in FY21 to reflect the increase in caseload
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    Weekly News June 18, 2019

    Legislative Update - The 2019 Outcome

    Family Child Care contract was approved by both the House and Senate, through the budget process.

    Budget - House and Senate have both passed a budget package before the end of session. It now goes to the governor for his signature, which he has indicated that he will sign. Early childhood programs are unscathed, with a few minor increases:

    • Care4Kids - Federal funds will be used to raise rates to at least the 25th percentile of the market, $5 million increase in state funds in the second year of the budget. It is still unclear if center-based infant-toddler rates will go higher.
    • Parity for CDCs with School Readiness programs
    • School Readiness and CDCs $100 per child/year increase (~1%) in second year of the budget
    • Diaper assistance - $500,000 grant to The Diaper Bank to provide more diapers to families in need
    • Money for background checks through October 1
    • Raising the eligibility limit to restore HUSKY coverage to 4,000 parents
    • Birth to Three line item increased by $1.4 million in FY20 and an additional $606,443 in FY21 to reflect the increase in caseload
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    Weekly News - May 28 2019

    Thank You for Attending Advocacy Day 2019!

    Thank you to everyone who made their way to the State Capitol on May 23 for the annual Advocacy Day. It was great to see the sea of yellow, both in room 310 and out and about in the Capitol.

    Among the topics this year - asking the legislature to pass a budget that was not harmful to children and families, fair wages for the early childhood workforce (urging support for several bills that would give pay raises to early educators, extend dates of the staff qualifications requirement for early childhood educators, paid family and medical leave, and support for family child care (HB 6291 and SB 930).

    There was also a strong focus on Care4Kids, which over the past 17 years, has only seen two small increases of 6% (total) for child care centers, and inflation has eroded the value of the Care4Kids subsidy dollar to just 75 cents. While the federal government recommends that the subsidy rates be set at the 75th percentile of the market rate, CT currently pays at the 7th percentile for preschool and the 4th percentile for infant-toddler care (in Greater Hartford). The Care4Kids certificate for infant-toddler care is worth $201 (including the parent share) in Greater Hartford, but the average cost of care is $302 per week. Meaning that parents have to pay their share of the certificate, plus $101.

    We would like to thank the CT After School Network for co-sponsoring the event this year. We hope you had the chance to speak to your legislators while you were there, too.

    If you have photos you would like us to add to our Facebook album, please feel free to email them to jessica@earlychildhoodalliance.com. Our pictures can be found on Facebook at CT Early Childhood Alliance, or click HERE.

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