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
S.B. 1 - Paid Family and Medical Leave passed in both the Senate and House - now goes to the governor for his signature. The Campaign for Paid Family Leave released a goodFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet, explaining the process going forward and answering any outstanding questions people might have.
S.B. 932, extends the dates of the staff qualifications requirements for early educators, passed the Senate and the House. It delays the requirement of a BA in every classroom until 2029. Prior to July 1, 2022, "staff qualifications" means a CDA credential or equivalent, plus 12 credits. It adds a step of at least an Associate's Degree in every classroom by 2022, before requiring 50% Bachelor's Degrees in 2025, and then ultimately a BA in every classroom by 2029.
S.B. 935, requires the OEC to develop an early educator compensation schedule, passed in the Senate and the House. It requires the OEC to develop an early childhood educator compensation schedule and present it to the Education Committee by January 1, 2021.
S.B. 936, the OEC agency bill, passed both the Senate and House. This bill also gives foster parents a 90-day grace period to produce proof of immunization for foster kids enrolling in child care, and allows a child who is 2 years and 9 months into a preschool classroom anytime during the year, not just between September and December.
H.B. 6184, requires the OEC, by July 1, 2019, to develop and make available on the agency's website, a one-page document describing key developmental milestones experienced by children from birth to age five and containing notice that parents and guardians who are concerned that a child has not met a milestone may access the OEC Child Development Infoline for information. On and after February 1, 2020, each child care program shall post a copy of the document in a conspicuous place at the child care program.
H.B. 7200, prohibits the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and vapor products to persons under age 21. It also prohibits smoking and e-cigarettes on the grounds of child care centers, clarifies that smoking and e-cigarettes are prohibited in family child care homes when children are present.
Public Act 19-4, gradually increases minimum wage to $15 an hour. It will go up to $11 on October 1, 2019, $12 on September 1, 2020, $13 on August 1, 2021, $14 on July 1, 2022, and $15 on June 1, 2023.
Public Act 19-19, allows an authorized entity to acquire and maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g., EpiPens) from a wholesalers and provide or administer them to the person experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. The authorized entity must establish a medical protocol with a prescribing practitioner and have at least one employee or agent trained in recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, administering the medication, and following emergency protocol. The At also generally grants immunity from civil and criminal liability to prescribing practitioners who establish medical protocols with authorized entities and authorized entities, the state or its political subdivisions, or their trained employees who provide or administer epinephrine auto-injectors to someone experiencing anaphylaxis.
Public Act 19-78, changes the Two-Generation Initiative's advisory council under current law to an advisory board; state agency commissioners are no longer members. The board is charged with advising the state, legislature, and OPM Secretary and partnering with available philanthropic organizations to provide support, technical assistance, guidance, and best practices to the initiative's participating communities. The Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors shall select parent or family leaders representing low-income households to constitute one-quarter of the board's membership. The OPM Secretary, in collaboration with the advisory board, shall develop an interagency plan to coordinate and align delivery of services to assist families to overcome barriers to economic success. Starting December 31, 2020, the board, in consultation with the OPM Secretary, will annually report to the Appropriations, Children, Education, Housing, Human Services, Labor, Public Health, and Transportation committees.
A September symposium, "How Adults Can Buffer Stress for Young Children and Reduce Challenging Behaviors," will take place at Goodwin College on Thursday, September 26, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The target audience is PreK-Grade 3 - administrators, teachers, related service staff, Board of Education members, and community partners. Teams are encouraged to attend. The symposium is hosted by: The CT Office of Early Childhood, CT Department of Education, Birth to Three Leaders, UConn Naeg School of Education, CT Association of Public School Superintendents, Enfield KITE, EASTCONN, CT Associations of Boards of Education, CT Association of Schools, RESC Alliance, and CT Children's Medical Center. For more information, click HERE. The registration link is http://casci.ac/4736.
CHDI Releases New Early Childhood Trauma Briefing
CHDI's latest IMPACT report, "Helping Young Children Exposed to Trauma: A Systems Approach to Implementing Trauma-Informed Care," is available HERE.
Over the past decade, Connecticut has developed robust systems of trauma-informed care for older children. However, fewer trauma-informed services have been available for children younger than six and their families. When very young children are exposed to trauma the negative effects can be profound and long-lasting. Effective trauma-informed systems can help mitigate these effects, can prevent additional trauma exposure, and can support the health and resilience of all children.
The IMPACT report provides a summary of the research on early trauma exposure, discusses what Connecticut is doing across systems to support young children who have experienced trauma, outlines a framework to expand Connecticut's system of trauma-informed care for older children to include younger children, and includes specific recommendations for workforce development, trauma screening, practice change and evidence-based practice, and collaboration and communication across early childhood systems.
Opinion: Infrastructure Plans Must Include Child Care Funds
Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) writes in The Hill, "without a doubt, fixing the infrastructure, both physical and financial, around our nation's child care is a critical need for the country's current and future economic success." Fifty-one percent of Americans live in a “child care desert.” To read the full opinion piece, click HERE.
Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: Connecticut Community Foundation, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation for Greater New Haven; and the Partnership for America's Children.