Weekly News - May 30, 2017

Budget Update

There's no getting around it - Connecticut is in a real mess when it comes to its fiscal house. We are looking at a fundamental change in the way the state budgets going forward. While it's easy to get caught up in each line item, the overall fight to maintain funding is what is important now. Several of the budget proposals seek to eliminate the Office of Early Childhood, which has only been in existence since 2014, and scatter its services back to various departments, including DSS and SDE. The governor and state employee union leaders have struck a tentative deal for employee concessions, but that plan has to be approved by the unions. The two remaining commissions, which had combined from six distinct commissions just last year, face elimination. There are cuts across all agencies - that help parents, grandparents, etc. The proposals make drastic cuts to core human services. We need to take care of our people. We need to stand together to protect what's important to us - all of us - as our very state landscape is at stake.

A deficit mitigation plan for the current budget passed in the Senate Tuesday and House on Wednesday. The plan would resolve the Birth to Three deficiency. The CT Mirror has more HERE and HERE. 

Federally, the Trump Administration released its budget plan. Many have called it "disastrous" and "an assault on the poor and vulnerable." According to CLASP, "the request claims to balance the budget in 10 years by slashing $1.7 trillion from virtually every program that helps reduce poverty and support ordinary working Americans—Medicaid and CHIP, nutrition assistance, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, support for people with disabilities, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – on top of $54 billion in 2018 cuts to domestic programs already previewed in the so-called 'skinny budget' two months ago." CLASP gives a full overview HERE. For Connecticut in particular, the proposed budget would, "rip Connecticut's safety net for the poor." CT Mirror takes a closer look at the impact for the state, if this budget were to pass. 

Bill Update

Last week, SB 912, "An Act Concerning Revisions to the Staff Qualifications Requirement for Early Childhood Educators," passed unanimously out of the Senate, as amended, and last night, it passed the House in concurrence with the Senate. It now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. 

Alliance, CAHS and CRT Debut New Care4Kids VideoSave Care4Kids

In collaboration with the CT Association for Human Services and Community Renewal Team (CRT), the Alliance created and released a new Care4Kids video on Tuesday, depicting what child care could look like if the Care4Kids program remains closed to new families. The video was shot on location at CRT's Early Care and Education Center on Locust Street in Hartford. Please share this video (click the screenshot at right to view on YouTube) with your networks and on social media!

New Poll Shows Business Support for Paid Family Leave

Paid LeaveThe Campaign for Paid Family Leave hosted a press conference on May 31 to announce the results of a recent poll conducted by BLS Research and Consulting LLC in East Haven: More than 3 in 4 (77%) Connecticut small businesses support family and medical leave legislation, and nearly half (46%) feel that way strongly. Once SBOs (small business owners) learn more about paid family leave, including how research has demonstrated its benefits to businesses, support climbs to 82%. This support is across the state and across industries. Ninety-five percent of CT small business owners believe it is important for people to have time off to care for a new baby, a seriously ill family member, or recover from personal illness, and 69% feel it is very important.  Now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them to pass Paid Family Leave. Urge them to support SB 1 or HB 6212 before June 7. More information can be found HERE.

Oral Health News and Legislation to Pay Attention To

From COHI: As the session wraps newt week, there are some oral health bills and issues that you should be aware of. The budget deficit has the potential to impact HUSKY, both for adults and children served for dental, medical and mental health needs, the latter at school-based health centers (SBHCs).  For HUSKY for children at SBHSc, if you need tips on what to say to legislators, click HERE. For more information or questions, contact Jesse White-Fresé, CASBHC Executive Direcor at Jesse@CTSchoolHealth.org or call 203-230-9976. 

The legislation of interest would be SB 35, "An Act Concerning Beverages with Added Sugars, Sweeteners and Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity," and HB 7314, "An Act Concerning a Tax on Certain Sweetened Beverages." Tell your legislators, "In light of the current budget deficit, please strongly consider supporting a sugary drink excise tax, which will generate $145.2M annually in new revenue, AND have a positive health impact for all CT residents." Find your legislators HERE.  HB 7314 is a bill that the Alliance has come out in support of to help generate new revenue and to support healthier lifestyles.

Survey Could Net You a Free Membership or Conference Registration for CT-AIMH

In collaboration with CHDI's SAMHSA-Early Childhood Trauma grant and the Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative, the CT Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-AIMH) has developed a needs assessment survey that will collect data on any trauma training that has been offered (or currently being offered) in Connecticut. 

Who should fill out this survey?  Anyone who is working directly with children 0-6 or supervising staff that serve children 0-6 (and their families). 

The purpose of this survey is to:

  • Identify current trauma trainings/offerings

  • Identify the gaps/training needs

  • Help CHDI and intentionally create and target trauma training as they move forward with their grant

  • Help inform state systems and programs on where they may need to enhance their current trainings.

As a result of this survey, CT-AIMH hopes that trauma-specific trainings will be put in place that help the workforce that serves children 0-6 (and their families) to be better prepared to work with and support young children and families that have been impacted by or are experiencing trauma. Each person who completes the 10-minute survey, they may select to have their name put into a lottery for a free 2018 membership to CT-AIMH or a free registration for the CT-AIMH 2017 Fall Conference. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, June 9. This project was made possible with the financial support of the CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy. 

Finding the Wonder Woman Within!

Community Renewal Team (CRT) is hosting a special event at Spotlight Theaters in Hartford - a preview of the new "Wonder Woman" movie to kick off its Women's Empowerment Fund. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased HERE. The event, which includes hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and a keynote talk by WFSB's Kara Sundlan, starts at 5 p.m. on June 1. The movie will follow around 7 p.m.

 

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