From what we understand, there will be no budget plan to vote on by the end of the fiscal year, which means that starting , Governor Malloy will have authority over the budget to keep the state running until an actual budget is passed. That means Care4Kids remains closed, which will impact families and child care providers who rely on it. Governor Malloy has released a "Resource Allocation Plan" for FY 2018. To read more about it, click HERE. Office of Early Childhood line items can be found on page 79 of the document. Notably, the plan keeps child care services (School Readiness and CDCs), annualizes Birth-3 funding, cuts Care4Kids as originally proposed ($7.4 million), eliminates Community Plans and Even Start, and there's a Children's Trust Fund increase to fund Help Me Grow. PLEASE CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC TO WATCH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.
Time is running out to be heard. PLEASE contact your legislators!
CALL, EMAIL/FACEBOOK, WRITE, REPEAT
Messages below are suggestions – feel free to write your own!
1. Call your legislators (1 phone call each to your State Senator and State Representative)
Phone Message: My name is (your name). I am (director, teacher, parent) at (name of center) in (location). Please help to ensure Care4Kids is funded at $155 million in the budget. Care4Kids helps families afford child care. With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen. Please do that and fund Care4Kids.
2. Email your legislators. Thanks to the YMCA's for letting us use their easy tool. Fill out the form and an email will automatically be sent to your state legislators
3. Use Facebook's Town Hall app. Great how to use video Type this message (or write your own):
Please help to ensure that Care4Kids, the state’s child care subsidy, is funded. $155 million is needed to serve the same number of children as the program served in August of last year. Care4Kids helps children get early education and parents to work. With the state facing a $5 billion deficit, you must raise revenue to make this happen. Please do that and fund Care4Kids.
4. Twitter. Many legislators use twitter. Send them a tweet.
@insert your legislator Over 6,000 have already lost Care4Kids. More revenue needed to support Care4Kids in the budget. #fairbudgetRead more
Our friends at CT Association for Human Services (CAHS) took a closer look at the end of the session and what having no budget heading into the middle/end of June means. There is significant pressure on the General Assembly to pass a budget before July 1. CAHS explains WHY (scroll to the "What to Watch for in the Coming Months" section).
One small bright spot for childcare providers - with no budget currently in place, the background fee increase from $50 to $75 that was part of all budget proposals won't take effect until a budget is signed. State Police will no longer waive the $50 fee as they have in the past.
CT Voices for Children to Host Budget Webinar
CT Voices for Children will host "A Better Approach for the State Budget," on Wednesday, June 21, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., on YouTube livestream. During this webinar, CT Voices will provide an overview of the state budget, solutions to avoid another "cuts only" approach and ways to take action. Click HERE to register.Read more
On June 1, the Alliance hosted CT Voices for Children at its monthly meeting. The main topic was the budget, or lack-there-of. No one is expecting a budget to be in place before the end of session on . Some are holding out hope for a budget by the end of the fiscal year (). The more realistic expectation is this will take a lot longer. Leaders are likely to negotiate throughout the summer and call rank-and-file in for a special session when they have a deal in place. If there is no budget in place by , the Governor has enormous power to manage state spending, including recessions and withholding payments.
All four budget proposals keep Care4Kids closed - noNe of the budgets would re-open it the way it was one year ago. Democrats and Senate GOP put a little bit more money in that could start to take families off the waiting list, but the Governor and House GOP maintain a hard closure. The Democratic budget and Senate GOP budget seeks to dissolve the OEC into the State Department of Education. The Governor's budget proposes a 50% cut to Family Resource Centers, where the Democrats propose a 25% cut. All four proposals eliminate Help Me Grow (a model program for the country), Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, and reduce Early Head Start. None of these budget proposals have enough votes to pass before the end of the session.
CT Voices for Children has done an analysis of the proposals and the impact the proposals have on what is known as "The Children's Budget." (NOTE: This report was completed before the Senate GOP put out a new proposal. An addendum is expected to be released.) CT Public News Service takes a closer look at the impact on The Children's Budget and how new revenue options must be considered.
NOW is the time to contact your legislators. They need to hear from their constituents. Other groups and organizations will be fighting for their piece of the budget pie as well, so contact your legislators and tell them to protect children and families in Connecticut. Tell them not to dissolve the Office of Early Childhood, tell them not to make cuts to FRCs, tell them not to eliminate Help Me Grow, Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, or reduce Early Head Start. Tell them Care4Kids must be fully-funded at $157 million (you can email your legislators HERE if you haven't already regarding Care4Kids). Bottom line is we NEED NEW REVENUE. A Care4Kids video to share on social media and with your networks can be found below. We are working on other actions and will share these actions once finalized.
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 and House . 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 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.
All four caucuses and the Governor's Office have proposed budgets. Remember this is still the negotiating phase and you may find your program is in one budget but not another. As deliberations continue, it's important for lawmakers to hear from their constituents with a clear message: we cannot cut our way out of a budget deficit. Many of these programs are already operating at bare bones, and further cuts or complete elimination will hurt Connecticut families. We need to look at revenue options, including the sugar sweetened beverage tax. When it comes to the budget, we need you to call your legislators and tell them to protect programs and services that children and families rely on in CT. Tell them you support revenue options like the sugar sweetened beverage tax. We need to make it clear that we vote and that while business and industry is important to our economy, so are the families that live here.
That said, please remember our Care4Kids efforts, including the LINK to contact your legislators (you do not have to write a new message - it's pre-written for you to send to your senator, representative, and Governor Malloy), or join the Thunderclap (which will use your social media (Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr), to push out a common message at the same time to amplify our presence). To protect Connecticut's vulnerable families who need to work and care for their children, Care4Kids funds CANNOT be cut any further. Contact your legislators through this YMCA advocacy tool LINK and to learn more about the campaign, click HERE. You can also join our THUNDERCLAP, which will use your social media (Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr), to push out a common message at the same time to amplify our presence. Click HERE to support the Thunderclap! We've hit our 100 supporters, but the more who sign on, the larger our reach will be!
Join the Campaign to Protect Care4Kids
You may have received an email from the Alliance on May 8 regarding the current budget mess and the potential for more drastic cuts to spending. To protect Connecticut's vulnerable families who need to work and care for their children, Care4Kids funds CANNOT be cut any further. Contact your legislators through this YMCA advocacy tool LINK and to learn more about the campaign, click HERE. You can also join our THUNDERCLAP, which will use your social media (Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr), to push out a common message at the same time to amplify our presence. Click HERE to support the Thunderclap! We need 100 supporters to make our message go live!
ZERO TO THREE'S Strolling Thunder Included CT Family
Last week, an Early Head Start family from Connecticut participated in "Strolling Thunder," where babies and families from all 50 states come together in Washington to tell Congress to "think babies!" Stephanie and her daughter, Taylor, represented Early Head Start and All Our Kin, speaking to members of Congress, including Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. ZERO TO THREE designed the "Think Babies" campaign to promote enriching early experiences and a strong foundation for development from the start. Science shows the human brain grows faster between zero and three than any other time in our lives.
QRIS Listening Sessions
Statewide listening sessions have begun on the draft Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS). To see the list of upcoming listening sessions, click HERE. To take a look at the draft QRIS, click HERE (you'll have to turn the document).
Happy Retirement, Juleen!
Juleen Flanigan, retired from EdAdvance last week (formerly Education Connection, a RESC in western CT). She served as the director of early childhood services, where she managed the development and operations of direct service programs, such as Birth to Three and Family Resource Centers. Prior to taking this position in 1996, Flanigan served as the director of the Northwest Regional Family Services Coordination Center for Education Connection, as a program evaluator for the CT Department of Children and Families, director of the Parent Aide Program for the Danbury Regional Commission on Child Care, Rights, and Abuse; a consultant and evaluator for the Behavioral and Organizational Consultants Associates in New York; and a regional liaison for the Birth to Three Interagency Council in Hartford. She received her Master's Degree in Social Work from Fordham University, her Bachelor's Degree from Molloy College and her 150 post-graduate certificate in Chemical Dependency from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. Last week, colleagues and friends gathered in Danbury and Litchfield at EdAdvance to send Juleen off. Juleen has been an active member of the CT Early Childhood Alliance since 2002, spending a number of years as a co-chair. Juleen will remain with EdAdvance part-time for the next six months to help with the transition. We wish you nothing but the best as you start this next chapter of your life, Juleen!Read more
Appropriations Committee Doesn't Vote on Budget Plan
Here's how things are shaking out at this moment: The good news - the budget the Appropriations Committee planned to vote on put additional money into Care4Kids ($10 million over the Governor's proposal and approximately $3 million above the current appropriation) and partially restored funding for Family Resource Centers. The bad news - Even Start, Help Me Grow and Community Plans were all zeroed out of the budget. The REALLY bad news - what was presented was probably the high water mark for spending - it won't get any better. And the committee couldn't get the votes to pass that budget. The Republicans noted they will release their own budget plan by the end of the week and it's unclear if the Appropriations Committee will be voting on a budget by their deadline. It's also unclear if the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will have a revenue package ready by its committee deadline . Everyone needs to be contacting their legislators. If you would like to take a look at what was presented by the Appropriations Committee , click HERE. Remember, this budget plan did not get a vote. This article and this article on CT Mirror explains what happened on Tuesday. This article on CT Newsjunkie from April 20 explains where the Finance Committee might go with revenue. This CT Newsjunkie article also explains what went with the Appropriations Committee. Governor Malloy issued a statement following the collapse of the Appropriations vote .
Advocacy Day is Thursday, April 20!
In an extremely difficult budget season, it's more important than ever to get your voice heard! This Thursday, advocates will gather at the State Capitol in Hartford for the CT Early Childhood Alliance's annual Advocacy Day. Arrival time is 9:30 a.m., and the program will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please RSVP if you haven't already. If you're planning to attend and haven't set up your meeting with your legislators, please do so as soon as possible. We ask that you wear RED in solidarity. See you Thursday!
Care4Kids Waiting List
There are now 3,000 families on the Care4Kids waiting list. Are you one of them? Or do you know someone who is? We're collecting stories. Please contact Jessica Ciparelli at the CT Early Childhood Alliance and share some background detail - how long have you been on the list and what impact has the closure had on your life. We would like to compile a list of individuals who would be willing to speak to reporters or to otherwise get the word out on how this closure impacts your life and that of your family's life. Jessica can be reached by email at [email protected]
On Tuesday, a number of members of the CT Early Childhood Alliance will testify before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee in favor of H.B. 7314, "An Act Concerning a Tax on Certain Sweetened Beverages." This bill would impose a tax of one cent per ounce on certain carbonated and non-carbonated nonalcoholic beverages that contain added caloric sweetener (sodas, sports drinks). The money raised would be use to fund early care and education (Care4Kids) and obesity-prevention programs. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the First Floor Atrium of the LOB. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list. Please submit 35 copies of written testimony to the Committee staff at 10 a.m. in the First Floor Atrium of the LOB. Testimony received after the designated time may not be distributed until after the hearing. Please email written testimony in Word or PDF format to [email protected]. (Subject Matter: Miscellaneous Bills.") The public hearing starts at 12 p.m. in Room 2E of the LOB. Oral testimony is limited to three minutes.