Weekly News - August 14, 2017

Budget Update

Although the state is now more than six weeks without a budget, the annual Tax Free week will still take place, as mandated by state statute. This year's tax free holiday is August 20-26, and residents won't have to pay sales tax on most clothing and footwear priced under $100. In the meantime, this tax free holiday means the state will miss out on approximately $4.1 million in revenue that it so desperately needs at this moment. The CT Mirror has MORE 

Despite no budget, the state will continue to fund Smart Start classrooms, to the tune of $3.3 million, to fund 45 classrooms that enroll 665 children, mostly from low-income households. CT Mirror has MORE. 

We need to continue to push for new revenue, because cuts alone would be devastating. If you haven't spoken to your legislators recently, do it now. Don't assume your neighbor is doing it - legislators need to hear from all of us. We know for a fact that they're hearing a lot from the "no new taxes" folks and not hearing nearly enough from us. Tell them you support increased revenue, whether it's the income tax, sugar tax, tolls, an increase to the cigarette tax. We CANNOT make cuts only. There has to be a balance and this budget has to be fair and moral.

2-1-1 Child Care Releases 2017 Closure Report

2-1-1 Child Care collected reasons directly from child care programs that closed, did not renew their license, or, stopped providing care while their license is still active. Numbers also include those programs that closed due to regulatory actions from Office of Early Childhood Division of Licensing. 

 In FY 2017, 330  Licensed Family Child Care Homes closed.  133 were opened during FY 2017 for a difference of  -197.

 In FY 2017, 219 Center Based Programs (licensed and exempt) closed. 156 opened (licensed and exempt) during FY 2017 for a difference of -63.

 Noted Trends:

•    The number one reason for Family Child Care Homes closure for the past two years has been Career Change. 

•    Retirement continues to be the 2nd highest stated reason for closure for Licensed Family Child Care Homes

•   The number one reason for Center Based program closure for the past two years has been Business Not Profitable.

This year's report and previous reports can be found HERE.

COHI Seeks Your Help on the State and Federal Level

On the state level: W need to remain vigilant if we want to make sure CT residents are able to receive dental care. Though the goal of many legislators is to pass any budget by the end of August, the goal is to see a fair and equitable budget for all CT residents, rather than one that will hurt many through cuts to social services, education, municipalities, parks and public safety.
What do we want?
  • A detailed budget that works for ALL Connecticut citizens, not just the wealthy.
  • Maintenance of necessary services including Medicaid in the budget - fact sheet
  • An increase in the budget with responsible revenue choices- fact sheet
How do we do this?
  • Write or call your legislator and the Senate and House Leaders. Find your Legislator
    • Remind them of Medicaid's successes, particularly Dental Medicaid Link to success sheet  
    • Tell them that CT needs to raise revenue wisely in order to protect our health.  Ways to achieve this include:
      • A tax on sugary beverages;
      • An increase in tobacco sales taxes;
      • Modernizing the sales tax system;
      • Reforming wealth and income taxes
      • For more ideas, see CT Voices for Children Brief 
On the federal level: Members of Congress are on recess until September 5. During this time, we must remind legislators just how much their constituents depend on them to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Currently, about 9 million children count on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for their medical and dental coverage, including children in Connecticut. Federal funding for CHIP remains uncertain beyond September 30. In CT this means we do not know if and when Congress will continue funding CHIP and if federal funds are extended, it is unknown if the extension will include the 23% funding increase on which states rely.
It is important that our federal legislators hear from us to strengthen their resolve to preserve CHIP. CALL or EMAIL them now to say that:

  • Congress should extend federal CHIP funding for a transition period or for a full five years, through fiscal year 2022, to give federal and state policymakers time to develop policies for, and to implement and test coverage approaches that, promote seamless coverage, affordability, and adequacy of covered benefits for low- and moderate-income children. Congress should eliminate waiting periods for CHIP.
  • See all the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) recommendations for extending CHIP here.

We prevented the passage of the ACA repeal and replacement bills, but we must continue to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Read in the Washington Post, 
Bipartisan health policy coalition urges Congress to strengthen the ACA. Community Catalyst has created a number of tools, including a postcard campaign, to ensure everyone has the materials to remind your representatives that we are counting on them.

Postcard templates to print and ask your members to sign and deliver to your senators and representatives. Here are some innovative and media-worthy delivery options.

social media graphic set to help you hold your members of Congress accountable for their health care votes. The recommendation is to tag the members in the post and include a phone number for their office.

A collection of tools from Families USA, including targeted questions to ask at upcoming town halls and tele-town halls, a letter to the editor template and a guide to set up meetings with your members of Congress.

compilation of ideas for sending your Congressperson back to Washington, D.C. at the end of August recess with the reminder that we're still counting on him/her to #ProtectOurCare.

Whom should you contact?
What should you say?
  • Simply say "Please reauthorize CHIP funding to help children in Connecticut to receive the dental, medical and mental health care they need.  Thank you for saving the ACA, but now make sure it has the funding to continue covering our residents and makes some improvements like mandated dental coverage for adults."  Then add your story or thoughts.

Oral Health Training for Community Health Workers

Utilizing the "Smiles for Life" curriculum, community health workers will learn about the importance of oral health and its connection to overall health and well-being. By learning about oral disease prevention, community health workers will be able to improve access to care for the targeted populations: infants and young children (0-5), pregnant women, and older adults 65 and over. The training is Friday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Connecticut Hospital Association 110 Barnes Road, Wallingford. There is limited seating, so please register by setting up an account at ct.train.org. $40 stipend at the successful completion. To see the full flyer and for more information, including contact info, click HERE

Alliance Hosts Care4Kids Question on Hartford Foundation Early Childhood Collaborative Website

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving's Early Childhood Collaborative offers a website, that serves as an early childhood hub for learning, sharing, and networking on the latest early childhood research, best practices and policy. There are various topics of interest for child care providers - particularly in the Hartford Region - to share and discuss. Currently, the CT Early Childhood Alliance is leading a discussion on the Care4Kids topic. To find our discussion, click HERE.  You can also find the site here - http://www.hfpgcollaborative.org/ You'll have to set up a FREE account to comment. Check it out and join the conversation.


Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, Connecticut Health Foundation, Children's Fund of Connecticut, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; The Fund for Greater Hartford; and The Eder Family Foundation