Help us to ensure that all children can reach their full potential by supporting and promoting the following priorities in 2017:
Care4Kids, Connecticut's largest child care program which provides subsidies for low-income working families for child care, closed to most new applicants (Priority Group 4 closed to new applicants on August 1, 2016, and Priority Groups 2 and 3 will close to new applicants on December 31, 2016) This will impact thousands of children whose parents are entering the workforce in low paying positions. Without child care, parents in low-wage jobs either cannot work or must find cheap, often illegal and poor quality, child care. These changes are also causing instability in our child care infrastructure. The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance strongly opposes cuts to the Care4Kids program. The Alliance urges an increase in funding in order to reopen the Care4Kids program.
MAINTAIN BUDGETS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS
Flat funding, rescissions, and budget cuts over recent years have put great strain on the early childhood system. Community programs that serve our most at-risk babies, toddlers and preschoolers are barely making it. They keep going, usually at the expense of staff. Early childhood teachers are paying the price. The state’s commitment to ensuring children are healthy, safe and ready for school success requires that programs serving our youngest children are funded at levels that meet the demand for services AND allow for teachers and staff to earn a living wage.
IMPROVE ACCESS TO EARLY CHILDHOOD BEHAVIORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Social, emotional, and behavioral issues in very young children are on the rise. Screening and early intervention are powerful strategies for detection and treatment of children with, and at risk, for problems and delays. It is estimated that 10% of 1 to 2 year olds exhibit social-emotional delays; 10-15% of 2 to 3 year olds exhibit behavioral concerns. Yet, currently, only about 30% of children’s delays are detected before kindergarten. We must improve early screening, and once screened, there must be an increase in available intervention services for young children.
CREATE PARITY IN THE FINANCING OF STATE SUBSIDIZED EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Connecticut has seven state funded child care and early education programs: Public Schools, Magnet and Charter Schools, School Readiness, Smart Start, State Funded Child Development Centers, State Funded Head Start, and Federal Preschool Development Programs. The financing of these programs is highly unequal; the Alliance urges the legislature to move towards parity in funding.
Please watch for emails and action alerts about these issues. For more information about these issues, please contact Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance at (860) 978-2767.