Weekly News - May 2, 2016

Last Days of Session: What to Expect

Things change quickly when it comes to the budget, as the governor proposed another plan yesterday and negotiations went on late into the night. When all is said and done, we may or may not have a budget fix in place by the end of session on May 4.  CT Mirror gives a good breakdown of what has been happening up at the Capitol these last 24 hours. The Alliance sent out a video update last night - if you haven't made calls to your legislators, now is the time to do it.

There are a number of bills that are still in play that may or may not get called before session ends. To see the list, visit our Bills page.  

Advocacy Day a Success

Alliance Advocacy Day 2016Thank you to everyone who came to the Capitol on a cold, rainy April morning to join us at Advocacy Day! As Senator Bob Duff said, you have to make noise to let legislators know what's important to you. Noise was made as advocates went to meet with their legislators and urged them to support programs that help children and families in the budget. If you couldn't join us last week, you can still contact your legislators. The Alliance opposes the proposed cuts to the HUSKY coverage for low-income parents, reductions in HUSKY payment rates for children’s dental care, cuts to the School Readiness preschool program, and cuts to early care and education programs including Even Start, State Funded Centers and Local Early Childhood Councils. If you would like to see photos from the event, they can be found on our Facebook page. You don't have to have an account to see them. 

Seeking Stories Regarding HUSKY Termination

The New Haven Legal Assistance Association is looking for stories about people cut off of Medicaid at redetermination/renewal. This an effort to solve the problem of people who are still eligible for Medicaid/HUSKY and despite taking the appropriate steps, are still cut off of all health care coverage. This often means immediate denial of access to prescription drugs, doctor visits, diagnostic services, outpatient surgery, medical transportation, etc. They are interested in Medicaid redetermination termination stories involving both DSS (which processes Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled and individuals needing long-term care—HUSKY C ) and the health insurance exchange, Access Health CT (which processes Medicaid for families, children, pregnant women and non-disabled, non-elderly adults without minor kids, HUSKY A and D). They ask that you hang these fliers up in your office or distributing to your networks to pass the word along. The contact information is on the fliers. 

Children of Incarcerated Parents Roundtable Scheduled for May 26

Mark your calendars for May 26, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Capitol Room 310, as CT Association for Human Services (CAHS) and Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents (CTCIP) host a roundtable discussion on a state-specific report that will be released that day. The state report is complimentary to a report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT policy report, A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities. Although every child, and each parent-child relationship, is different, having a parent in jail or prison can be traumatic and result in long-term negative outcomes. 

Please join CAHS and CTCIP along with a panel of experts, legislators and state officials, to participate in a conversation about how we can better acknowledge and support youth with incarcerated parents in Connecticut. To RSVP, click HERE.

Early Childhood in the News

All Our Kin's Jessica Sager was recently profiled in a New America Ed Central Question & Answer about All Our Kin, the importance of investing in family child care providers and a recently-released study by AOK. Within the piece, Jessica shows her passion for family child care: "Family child care is such a critical piece of the child care landscape. We know that almost half of all children under five spend a portion of their day in home-based care, and that our youngest children and our poorest children are especially likely to be in these settings. Family child care fills a pressing need for care that is affordable, accessible, flexible, and culturally diverse. If we care about children’s foundational learning experiences, it’s essential that we raise quality in home-based care."  

There have been a number of early childhood-related events held by the Alliance and our friends in April. If you'd like to see pictures from the CT Family Resource Center Alliance's "Friends of the Family" celebration, the Local Early Childhood Council Advocacy Day or theAlliance's Advocacy Day, click the links to be brought to the folders on our Facebook page. You don't have to have a Facebook account to view the photos.

USDA Announces Effort to Strengthen Nutrition Among Young Children

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has new nutritional guidelines that are intended to increase whole grains, add a greater variety of vegetables and fruits, and have less added sugars and solid fats. The science-based standards introduced in this final rule will elevate the nutritional quality of meals and snacks provided under the CACFP to better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to be consistent with the meals children receive as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).

ECCS Community Discussions Planned

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, United Way of Connecticut, and ECCS Advisory Committee have announced the scheduling of four Community Discussions around the state. The discussion is the culmination of the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) 3-year planning grant’s efforts and continued work. The four sessions begin on May 9 and end on May 13. For more information, click HERE

Addressing Equality and Racism: ZERO TO THREE Virtual Seminar

On May 12, from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., ZERO TO THREE Journal will host a virtual seminar author spotlight, featuring Wendy Harris, an early intervention co-manager with the King County (Washington) Department of Community and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Division. In this Author Spotlight, Ms. Harris will share strategies and lessons learned in creating a training initiative for staff which addresses equity and racism at individual, organizational, and systemic levels. Her 30-minute presentation will be followed by a 15-minute online Q & A session.

Even if you can't participate on May 12, you are encouraged to register anyway, as you will have access to the seminar for 30 days. The cost is $15 and all registrants will receive a complimentary download of Wendy Harris’ Journal article, “Building Equity in the Birth-to-3 System: Who Is in the Room?” published in the March 2016 issue.

Chronic Absence Webinar

On May 17, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.,  the Attendance Works Attendance Awareness Campaign will host a webinar that will focus on how state and local innovators are using chronic absence analyses to galvanize action to reduce chronic absence. Attendance Works will preview upgrades to its free District and School Attendance Tracking Tools. Register for this webinar HERE

Endangered Play, Endangered Development

Mark your calendars for the evening of May 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Diane Levine, Professor of Early Childhood at Wheelock College, author, and a leading expert on children's play, violence prevention and media literacy, will present "Endangered Play, Endangered Development: Why Play is Even More Important in the 21st Century." The program will take place at the Yale School of Management, 165 Whitney Avenue, in the Zhang Auditorium. The event is free. For more information, click HERE

Social and Emotional Learning in Early Childhood

With a full event and waiting list in place, Gesell Institute of Child Development and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, in celebration of Gesell’s 65th Anniversary, presents the opportunity to watch virtually via a livestream "SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD," with keynote by Marc Brackett, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, on Friday, May 6, from 8:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. The livestream can be accessedHERE. If you there questions regarding the livestream, please email office@gesellinstitute.org