Weekly News - January 3, 2017

Legislative Session Begins

It's January, it's 2017...it's time to start a new legislative session. It will be different this year. Democrats and Republicans are tied in the Senate with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman able to cast a deciding vote. In the House, Democrats hold a slim majority (78-72). There will be three special elections to replace Senators Rob Kane and Eric Coleman, as well as Rep. Stephen Dargen, who all resigned to accept appointments to other positions. The evenly-split Senate led to a new power-sharing agreement last week. The Appropriations Committee appears to have its leadership set, with two Senate chairs and one House chair. To read more about it in the CT Mirror, click HERE. The budget will play a big role this year, as the governor proposes a new, two-year budget. Like last year, the state is facing a deficit (approximately $1.5 billion) and additional cuts to programs and services are likely. The Alliance website has an updated legislator list and the 2017 policy priorities

Collaborative Community Conversation Planned for January 9

On Monday, January 9, the CT Education Association (CEA) and collaborative partners will host a Community Conversation at the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill. The event runs from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The forum will showcase how community engagement, collaboration, and innovation can be harnessed to develop our youngest children into our strongest students. Co-sponsors include: The CT Early Childhood Alliance, CT Parent Power, CT Center for the New Economy, CT Family Resource Center Alliance, and the Teachers Policy Institute. Parents, policymakers, and practitioners will learn about practices and new strategies that are working well to address the unmet needs of families with young children. The agenda includes:

Plenary Roundtables with Parents, Community Leaders, and Practitioners: Opportunities and challenges-what children need to start every day ready to learn. 
Breakout Sessions:
 Strategies to address early learning, early reading success, 21st century community schools, implicit bias, positive student behavior development, and other critical topics. Among the speakers, Walter Gilliam from Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. 
Plenary Lunch "Ed Talk"
Town Hall Panel Discussion: Audience Q&A. What was learned? What are some next steps?

To register, please click HERE

Early Childhood Cabinet Meeting Planned

The Early Childhood Cabinet will meet on Friday, January 20, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Old Judiciary Room at the State Capitol. 

Pilot Program for Background Checks

FingerprintingThe Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is initiating a pilot project specifically for center directors. The OEC has heard frustrations of center directors about the high level of fingerprint rejections. In exploring solutions with the state police, one suggestion is for child care center directors to fingerprint their own staff. Doing so would eliminate the cost of fingerprinting charged by local police and eliminate wasted staff time traveling to different locations to be fingerprinted. Directors would also have greater oversight over the process and be able to control the quality of the prints.

The OEC is looking for five (5) volunteer directors who wish to participate in this pilot project. In order to participate, center directors must purchase the necessary equipment and be trained by state police in Middletown.

State police have suggested the following kit. They strongly discourage using any kit that uses the ink pads. The use of ink pads has led to a high volume of rejections. 

Interested directors should email Cynthia Isales at cynthia.isales@ct.gov.

Finally, as the OEC prepares to roll out background check-related changes, they will be using the new background check tab on OEC’s website, as well as the email addresses reported to the Licensing Division of the OEC. Please make sure, through your licensing specialist, that your email address is in the system and up to date.

Care4Kids: All Our Kin Pens Op-Ed, Partners Featured in Senator's Webcast

In December, following the successful forum on Care4Kids, All Our Kin's Jessica Sager, Jenna Wagner and Natalie Vieira wrote an op-ed that ran on the CT Mirror website. CT Early Childhood Alliance, CT Parent Power and the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors were also guests on Senator Marilyn Moore's webcast regarding the Care4Kids program. It can be seen HERE

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, Connecticut Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, The Fund for Greater Hartford, and The Eder Family Foundation