April Forum Will Focus on Growing the Economy, Fixing Child Care Crisis
Join us at the Legislative Office Building on Tuesday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Room 2E, for a forum on the economic impact the lack of affordable, accessible child care has one the state's families and on the state's businesses. For more information, click HERE. As this is a public event, you can attend without RSVPing, though we would appreciate a headcount before the event.
We are also seeking a parent or two who would be able to attend this forum - if you're a parent who struggles to pay for child care beyond what your Care4Kids certificate provides for, or if you couldn't finish your post-secondary degree because Care4Kids wouldn't cover you as a student, please contact us. You can contact Kayla Goldfarb at [email protected] or Jessica Ciparelli at [email protected].Read more
THANK YOU For Attending DAY OF ACTION!
March 6 was a very busy day for us up at the Capitol and we thank each and every one of you who came to the press conference, submitted testimony or waited patiently all day and evening to testify in person. The hearing lasted well into the night (finished around 10 p.m.), but offered some thoughtful testimony. If you'd like to watch the hearing on CT-N, the link is HERE. (Hearing starts around 20 minute mark - the link should take you to that point.) A full gallery of photos is available on our Facebook page. To see the album, click HERE. Visit our Facebook page to see the album, Facebook live feed of the press conference and wrap-up video. Search "CT Early Childhood Alliance" on Facebook, and if you haven't already, give us a "LIKE!"
While media coverage was tough (there was a tolls press conference and public hearing that most of the press attended the same day), we did get a couple stories placed. The New Britain Herald and Channel 8 both ran pieces.Read more
First Early Childhood Public Hearing Coming 3/6
OUR DAY HAS COME! On March 6, we have our chance to make the case - why teachers need to be paid more, why providers need to be paid more, why there needs to be loan forgiveness, why Care4Kids needs to be available for parents in school. The Alliance is seeking parents, ECE college students, teachers, and center directors who would be willing to testify before the Education Committee at a public hearing held exclusively on early childhood bills.
The date for the hearing is Wednesday, March 6, 2 p.m. Besides the hearing itself, we are working on other action steps, including a morning press conference (time being finalized) and an early evening rally (5:30 p.m. start time). More information will be released in the coming days. Click this LINK to sign up to testify or participate in our Day of Action!
Our flier for distribution can be found HERE (English and Spanish available)
The Alliance can assist with testimony writing, talking points and signing people up to testify. We understand a daytime public hearing is difficult for many people, so if you'd be willing to SHARE YOUR STORY and have it read aloud by a hearing attendee, please click HERE.
If you plan to testify or attend in support, we ask that you wear the yellow "We Vote for Kids" t-shirt if you have one, or wear the color yellow. This will be a unifying color for us.
Here are the bills of interest. We are most interested in testimony on 931-935 and 937.
S.B. No. 930 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE CREATION OF A PILOT PROGRAM FOR AN EARLY CHILDHOOD BUSINESS INCUBATOR MODEL', to establish a pilot program that authorizes the Commissioner of Early Childhood to issue a license to a person or group of persons to operate a family child care home or group child care home in a space that is not a private home and which has been provided by an association, organization, corporation, institution or agency. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 931 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT CONCERNING PAYMENTS TO CHILD CARE PROVIDERS', to require Care4Kids program payments to be at least equal to the seventy-fifth percentile of the market cost of child care; to require that any increase in funding to child care centers and school readiness program providers are to be used for increasing educator salaries; and to reestablish school readiness grant rates in the general statutes and to increase such rates. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 932 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE STAFF QUALIFICATIONS REQUIREMENT FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS', to make revisions to and extend the dates of the staff qualifications requirement for early childhood educators. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 933 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN FAMILIES IN THE CARE4KIDS PROGRAM', to expand the eligibility of the Care4Kids program to include families with a gross income of up to seventy-five per cent of the state-wide median income and require advance notice of expanded program eligibility.
S.B. No. 934 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY IN THE CARE4KIDS PROGRAM TO PARENTS ENROLLED IN OTHER TYPES OF SCHOOL', to expand eligibility in the Care4Kids program to parents who are enrolled in school, in addition to high school, and require advance notice of expanded program eligibility. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 935 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT REQUIRING THE OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD TO DEVELOP AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR COMPENSATION SCHEDULE', to require the Office of Early Childhood to develop an early childhood educator compensation schedule and for early childhood program providers to implement such compensation schedule. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 936 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD', to implement the recommendations of the Office of Early Childhood. REF. EDUCATION
S.B. No. 937 (RAISED) EDUCATION. 'AN ACT CONCERNING A STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS', to establish a student loan forgiveness program for early childhood educators.Read more
Commissioner Says Backlog is Not Acceptable as Care4Kids Meeting Draws Large Turnout
Incoming Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye heard heartbreaking story after story from child care providers on the ongoing Care4Kids backlog - mostly home child care providers - at a forum hosted by the CSEA SEIU Child Care Union on February 2. Many in the packed room recounted long waits for payment - some as far back as October - and the painful consequences they are now facing. One provider said her car has been re-possessed and many face overdraft charges from their banks. Commissioner Bye said additional workers have been added to alleviate the backlog and the call center would be open all weekend. She added that certificates would be extended through the computer system, and with the additional workers, Care4Kids is moving two to three times faster now. But those measures don't make up for the current situation, she said.
"It's not acceptable," Commissioner Bye said. "I will do everything in my power to make it better," she said, adding that the legislators in the room, including the chairs of the Education Committee, Human Services Committee, and Children's Committee, will do the same.
Legislators noted they weren't aware of the issue until just a few days before the February 2 meeting. Some were alerted by constituents. That's when they contacted the incoming commissioner, who said she was just finding out as well.
"You're the boots on the ground," said Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, who represents parts of Meriden and Berlin and co-chairs the Human Services Committee. "Don't assume we know about issues. Tell us."
All legislators and the commissioner herself encouraged those in attendance to reach out when there is an issue. Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams, who chairs the Children's Committee, said she would begin educating her fellow senators to the issue when she returned to the Capitol on Monday. But she needs help from the providers, encouraging them to reach out to their own senators and representatives as constituents to alert them to the problem.
"We want to correct this wrong - because it is a wrong," Senator Daugherty Abrams said.
You can look up your legislators HERE.Read more
Alliance Issues 2019 Priorities
The Alliance has created its list of 2019 Priorities and a survey we ask you to take to let us know if you are in agreement.
The Alliance 2019 Priorities:
Improve the Quality of Early Care and Education
- Raise wages of early educators in state-subsidized child care and preschool programs and index them to future increases in the minimum wage.
- Raise Care4Kids payment rates to child care providers to the federally recommended 75th percentile of market
- Ensure parity in funding between various programs providing the same early care and education services
Support Parents in Raising Thriving Children
- Adopt Paid Family Medical Leave
- Require Predictable Work Schedules (with exceptions for industries with legally required staff to client ratios)
- Fix the broken Birth to Three Early Intervention Program
- Adopt Two-Generation Strategies to grow the economy and end poverty
Special Elections Set for Vacated Senate, House Seats
With the departure of three senators (Senators Bye, Larson, and Gerratana) and two representatives (Representatives Albis and Soto), to join the new administration, Governor Lamont has announced the date for the upcoming special elections - Tuesday, February 26. These are seats in the 3rd, 5th, & 6th Senate Districts; and 39th and 99th House Districts. To read Governor Lamont's announcement, click HERE.Read more
Changes Coming to the Office of Early Childhood, DCF
You may have seen the email that the Alliance sent out last Wednesday, with an article from the Hartford Courant announcing a change to the CT Office of Early Childhood. Each incoming administration decides who it wants to lead various departments, and last week, news came of a familiar name chosen to lead the CT Office of Early Childhood. On January 9, Senator Beth Bye will not take the oath of office for the 5th Senate District, but will begin the process of becoming the newest commissioner of the OEC (she will need to go through a confirmation process). This now puts the 5th Senate seat back in play for a special election. Several names have been put forth as potential candidates - this CT Mirror story breaks down the race to fill the seat. To read more about Beth's appointment, click HERE. Photo - Sen. Bye named a 2018 Children's Champion by the CT Early Childhood Alliance.
Governor-Elect Lamont has also appointed a new Commissioner to the Department of Children and Families. Vanessa Dorantes is currently a DCF administrator, working in the Waterbury-Danbury-Torrington region. She is one of six regional DCF administrators and has worked in the DCF system since 1992. The Hartford Courant profiled Dorantes, who, like Beth Bye, will have to go through the confirmation process. Click HERE to learn more about her.
The CT Mirror published a story on legislators who have taken new positions within the Lamont Administration. In total, three senators (Bye, Gerratana and Larson) and two representatives (Albis and Soto) have been appointed to new jobs within the administration. Senators Bye and Larson will need legislative confirmation.Read more
QRIS Presentation from Alliance Meeting Available
Michelle Levy of the CT Office of Early Childhood presented on the Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS) at our December Alliance meeting - her presentation is attached. As expected, there were a lot of questions and we ran out of time to answer them all. The QRIS document itself may be ready by the end of the year for review. The presentation is available HERE and we have set up a Google form for questions to be submitted and answered by the OEC.Read more
Alliance Meeting Features Presentation on QRIS Plan
On Thursday, December 6, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the CT Early Childhood Alliance will hold its monthly meeting at Graustein Memorial Fund in Hamden. Our guest presenter will be Michelle Levy from the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to talk about the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) plan. Non-members are allowed to attend two meetings of the Alliance before considering membership. If you would like to attend the December meeting and see what the Alliance is about, please RSVP HERE. Please be ready to start at 9 a.m., as we need to be out of the meeting room promptly at 11 a.m.
The Alliance Steering Committee will meet following the regular meeting.Read more
Today's the Day! Don't Forget to Vote Tuesday, November 6!
Today is Election Day 2018! Please remember to vote! Make your voice, make your vote, count. Polls are open until 8 p.m. across the state. If you didn't get the chance to register, you can still do same-day registration at a designated location in your city or town. To find your same-day registration location, click HERE. If you are registered, but unsure where to vote, you can check your polling station HERE.
Please keep children and families in mind when you vote today. The Alliance cannot endorse candidates or political parties, but you can consider candidates who will support essential services for families who need them, candidates who support expanding access to preschool, and candidates who will work to make childcare more affordable. Kids can't vote, so we have to!Read more