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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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    Weekly News - October 30, 2017

    Promoting Dental Health on the Radio and in the Classroom

    Sleeping Giant Dental VisitDid you know October was Dental Hygiene Month? We're reporting on two oral health items that might be of interest to you. 

    In October, the radio interview on WICC 600 in Bridgeport featured Mary Boudreau of CT Oral Health Initiative (COHI), discussing dental hygiene month, what a dental hygienist is, National Brush Day (it's November 1), and more. To listen to the full interview, click HERE.

    Many early childhood programs take time as part of their curriculum to focus on oral health education. On October 27, the three- and four-year- olds at Sleeping Giant Day Care in Hamden had two visitors and one stuffed kangaroo. 

    Two dentists from Yale Dental School, Dr. Judy and Dr. Lauren, talked to the children about brushing their teeth, what kinds of foods are good and bad for their teeth, and how to floss their teeth. They made their lessons into games. One game, the children were given a piece of plastic food, and they had to put the food in the box that would be considered "good" or "bad" for their teeth. The kangaroo toy had teeth that the children could practice brushing. They also tried on surgical masks and gloves that dentists and dental hygienists wear.

    "How many times a day do we brush?" asked Dr. Judy. 

    "Two times a day," said the children.

    "We brush our teeth, tongue and gums," said Dr. Judy.

    The Yale dentists visit once a year, said Edie Reichard, Director of Sleeping Giant Day Care in Hamden. 

    "I don't think they've missed a year," she said.

    The visits provide training for the dental school and helps the child care center meet NAEYC and state requirements. The visit also kicks off a unit the center is starting on dental hygiene. Reichard said they do try to plan these visits around Halloween.

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    Weekly News - October 23, 2017

    55,775 Home Visits!

    The 2017 Homevisiting Yearbook is available and the state profile for Connecticut delves into the numbers of families served, plus other topics including race, ethnicity, caregiver education, child's age, primary language, and insurance status.  Models implemented in Connecticut include: Child First, Early Head Start, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers. Statewide, 86 local agencies operated at least one of these models. As we push for Congress to re-authorize MIECHV, please share this graphic to help explain how valuable home visiting is.

    CT Homevisiting Numbers
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    Weekly News - October 16, 2017

    September Care4Kids Numbers Reveal a Big Drop in Children Served

    The September Care4Kids numbers came out late last week and the numbers have plunged in children served. We anticipated a drop, as children went off to kindergarten and providers couldn't replace them with another child on Care4Kids, but Care4Kids served only 11,043 children in September (compared to 19,517 last September and 14,955 in August 2017 - the last month reported). That's 3,912 less children from last month and it's across the board, not just the preschoolers moving to kindergarten. We are continuing to do analysis on the information, but these numbers are alarming. The Excel spreadsheet can be found HERE.

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    Weeky News - October 9, 2017

    102 Days and Counting...No State Budget

    It's day 102 and there is no state budget to be had. Leaders met throughout the holiday weekend, and there is hope that leaders can come to a bipartisan agreement to present to the governor and to rank-and-file membership. The governor has put a deadline of this Friday, October 13, in place, due to legislator scheduling conflicts. This is the best chance to get a budget passed before November 1, according to published reports. CT NewsJunkie and CT Mirrorhave more. CT NewsJunkie also reports that the governor is working on another separate budget proposal. Click HERE for more. 

    If you haven't called your legislators yet to support early childhood funding, click HERE to find out how.

    In addition, our friends at CT Voices for Children just released an action alert regarding the state's spending cap. The spending cap has become a central issue in the current bipartisan budget negotiations. While a spending cap can be vital to preventing runaway spending, an overly restrictive cap would mean that CT can no longer make opportunities for children and families a priority. Proposed changes to the spending cap would have that effect, limiting the state's ability to meet vital needs today or key priorities tomorrow. Please call your legislators and urge them to support a spending cap that is driven by a commitment to meet vital needs, strengthening our cities and towns, and spurring equitable economic growth.

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    Weekly News - October 2, 2017

    No Budget Before October 1...Now What?

    As promised, Governor Malloy vetoed the GOP budget proposal approved by the House and Senate. We've reached October 1 and there is still no budget. This is when the ECS funds are cut to 85 towns and reduced for 54 others via the governor's revised executive order. To read more about the executive order, click HERE.  The House has been summoned to a veto override session on Tuesday afternoon. For more about the veto override session, click HERE. 

    We know this can become tiresome, but this is the time we need your advocacy the most.

    The budget the governor vetoed would eliminate the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and move the functions (including licensing, Birth-to-Three, Care4Kids, home visiting, and others) to the State Department of Education.  The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance strongly opposes this measure.  A state agency focused on all the needs of our youngest children must be maintained. 

    It is very important that early childhood advocates speak up to ensure that the best budget for early childhood is passed.  Please take a few minutes today to make 2 phone calls:

    1) Call your state Senator and State Representative and say “I am calling about the Office of Early Childhood.  Please make sure it stays as its own agency so that early childhood gets the focus it deserves.”  You can look up your legislator and their phone number HERE.  Phone numbers for each of the Legislative caucuses are as follows:

    House Democrats: (860) 240-8500 or toll-free  (800) 842-1902
    House Republicans: (860) 240-8700 or toll-free (800) 842-1423
    Senate Democrats: (860) 240-8600 or toll-free (800)842-1420
    Senate Republicans: (860) 240-8800 or toll-free  (800) 842-1421
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    Weekly News - September 25, 2017

    Call Your Legislators!

    The GOP budget proposal approved by the House and Senate has not yet been sent to the Governor's desk, but Governor Malloy has indicated when it does get transmitted, he will veto it. We know this can become tiresome, but this is the time we need your advocacy the most.

    This budget eliminates the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and moves the functions (including licensing, Birth-to-Three, Care4Kids, home visiting, and others) to the State Department of Education.  The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance strongly opposes this measure.  A state agency focused on all the needs of our youngest children must be maintained. 

    It is very important that early childhood advocates speak up to ensure that the best budget for early childhood is passed.  Please take a few minutes today to make 3 phone calls:

    1) The Governor has vowed to veto the budget, but it is still important to call his office at (860) 566-4840 or toll-free at(800) 406-1527 and say “I am calling to ask the Governor to veto the budget, and keep the Office of Early Childhood.” 

    2) Call your state Senator and State Representative and say “I am calling about the Office of Early Childhood.  Please make sure it stays as its own agency so that early childhood gets the focus it deserves.”  You can look up your legislator and their phone number HERE.  Phone numbers for each of the Legislative caucuses are as follows:

    House Democrats: (860) 240-8500 or toll-free  (800) 842-1902
    House Republicans: (860) 240-8700 or toll-free (800) 842-1423
    Senate Democrats: (860) 240-8600 or toll-free (800)842-1420
    Senate Republicans: (860) 240-8800 or toll-free  (800) 842-1421
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    Weekly News - September 11, 2017

    It's Time to Contact Your Legislators Again! Budget Vote on Thursday

    This is hopefully the last time we ask you for your help!  The state legislature is expected to vote on a budget on Thursday.  It is up to us to make sure they go into that vote with early childhood on their minds.  Here’s what we need you to do:

    Call or text (if you know their cell phone) or Facebook your legislators with this message:

    “When you vote on Thursday, please remember our youngest children.  All of our early childhood programs and interventions are investments that help children and save money down the line.  I especially ask that you support the Care4Kids program with the proposed $124 million in funding.”

    If you know that your legislator has been supportive of early childhood, please add a thank you for all that they have done.  

    Not sure who your legislator is?  Click HERE.

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    Weekly News - September 5, 2017

    Budget Update

    House Democrats will caucus today, ahead of next week's session, which we are hearing will be Thursday, September 14. There has been no GOP counter budget released. Yesterday, the CT Mirror reported that Governor Malloy has offered a compromise when it comes to towns and cities when it comes to covering the costs of teacher pensions. He also seems more open to entertaining revenue options. To read more, click HERE. 

    Care4Kids in the News

    On Labor Day, the CT Mirror published an article on the impact the closure of Care4Kids is having on child care providers. Enrollment is down 33% (7,500) from last July, and that is forcing providers to make difficult decisions. The CT Mirror contacted Georgia Goldburn, who explained what options she's facing at her center. To read the full article, click HERE.

    Care4Kids Highs and LowsFollowing up on the Care4Kids info, the Alliance has created a chart to show the highs and lows in enrollment over the past few years. As you can see from the chart, June, July, and August are often the highest peaks for enrollment, which include summer camps. As you look at 2017, those highs are not there anymore.
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