Weekly News February 18, 2020

Education Committee to Hold Public Hearing on Bills of Interest

On Wednesday, February 26, the Education Committee will hold an afternoon public hearing on bills. While we don't have the agenda yet, there is a very good chance that several bills of interest will be called for a public hearing. You can start writing your testimony now. We will share the full agenda once its released.

  • Childcare Business Incubator Bill (HB 5213) FACT SHEET
  • Care4Kids eligibility (HB 5220) for parents in EvenStart or school for the high demand occupations of nursing, manufacturing and teaching (including ECE)
  • It is possible that HB 5222, which would provide a 90 day job search for families living in a homeless shelter for more than 2 weeks, will also be heard.

Save the Date: Advocacy Day 2020

Please save the date of Wednesday, March 25, for CT Early Childhood Alliance Advocacy Day. It is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Old Judiciary Room, with advocates branching out after the program to speak to their legislators. More details to come.

Count All Kids Census Campaign Update

As we noted recently, the CT Early Childhood Alliance and CT Association for Human Services have received a substantial grant from Viking Global to reduce the undercount of children under the age of 5 in the 2020 U.S. Census. We are working diligently to prepare materials, plan webinars, etc., in order to help you, trusted community messengers, ensure a complete count, including children.

We encourage child care providers, who are seen as trusted messengers, to consider hosting "Census Parties" as we get closer to April 1 (which is "Census Kick-off Day"). We encourage you to plan activities around counting and when parents come for pick-up, ask them to fill out the Census while they are there with you. It takes less than 10 minutes to fill out and can be done on a Smartphone, tablet or computer. If you're interested in hosting a Census Party, contact Melvette Hill at [email protected]

In addition to the Census Parties, the Alliance has access to a children's book called "We Count," which helps explain the Census. Currently, we have books available in English and Spanish. To obtain the books, we will need one of your organization's members to complete a short training session to become "Census Experts" (Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. online). To register for the training, click HERE. To fill out the Google form for interest in the books, click HERE.

Public Charge Update and Resources

Thank you to CLASP for sharing the following information and resources. For reference, the new rule makes some immigrants ineligible for permanent legal status if they use certain public benefits, like Medicaid, SNAP, or housing vouchers.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the new public charge rule will be effective as of February 24, 2020 everywhere in the U.S., except Illinois where a statewide preliminary injunction remains in place. This means that any green card applications that are postmarked or submitted electronically as of the 24th will be subject to the new, broader public charge test.

Keep in mind the DHS final rule only applies to immigrants who are applying for lawful permanent residency within the United States or who wish to apply in the future. Many immigrants are not affected by the changes to public charge rules. But we know the chilling effect will extend far beyond those directly affected, and that children comprise a large share of people who stand to lose important services due to fear and confusion.

Empowering families with information is one of the most important roles that we can play. The following resources share more information on the rule for advocates, service providers, and immigrant families:

CLASP: The Final Public Charge Rule: Five Things Early Childhood Stakeholders Need to Know two-page fact sheet (updated January 31; Spanish version forthcoming)

CLASP: The Final Public Charge Rule and Young Children:Q&A for in-depth explanation of the final rule (update in process)

PIF Campaign: Public Charge: Does this apply to me? two-page fact sheet

PIF Campaign: Should I keep my kids enrolled in health and nutrition programs? one-page fact sheet

PIF Campaign: Know Your Rights! Public charge messages for community members

You can also find free or low-cost immigration legal advocates in your community at https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/

C-HIT Looks at Impact of Childhood Homelessness; Ways to Prevent it

CT Health I-Team (C-HIT) has published an in-depth article on the impact homelessness and housing insecurity has on young children. A collaboration among the CT Office of Early Childhood, CT Department of Housing, UConn School of Social Work, and the CT Coalition to End Homelessness is working together in a three-year, $1 million collaborative, to prevent homelessness and collect data, with the hope of avoiding lifelong problems and costly remedies. To read the full story, click HERE.

Campaign for Working CT Endorses Alliance Proposal

The Campaign for Working Connecticut has come out in support of the CT Early Childhood Alliance's proposal to allow parents to use Care4Kids while in college or job training. Connecticut is currently one of two states that does not allow parents to utilize Care4Kids while attending college courses or job training.

Nebraska Releases Comprehensive Workforce Plan

Something to keep an eye on here in Connecticut. Late last week, the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission released its final report and recommendations for strengthening and expanding the state’s early childhood workforce. The commission’s recommendations are a comprehensive call to action focused on qualifications, full funding for the early childhood system by 2030, building public will and commitment across the state to support sustained investments, and creating a statewide coalition of Nebraskans to ensure implementation of the recommendations.

The full report, information kit, and a livestream from last week can be found HERE.

Center for American Progress Issues Brief on Prenatal Support

"Healthy babies start with healthy, supported parents." The Center for American Progress’ Early Childhood Policy team released a new issue brief highlighting three programs that re-imagine caring for parents and infants - particularly in support of communities at higher risk for poor maternal and infant health outcomes. The issue brief, "Ensuring Healthy Births Through Prenatal Support," looks at what The JJ Way, CenteringPregnancy, and the HealthConnect One Community-Based Doula Program are doing to provide holistic systems of support that improve pregnancy outcomes and guarantee optimal health for all parents and infants. If you're interested in posting this brief to social media, this social media toolkit might come in handy.

CHDI Issue Brief

Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) has released a new Issue Brief on ensuring young children receive mental health services, looking at barriers to billing and proposed solutions. The foundation for mental health is laid in infancy and early childhood, but getting help when needed can be difficult for children under the age of 5. Current reimbursement regulations require the diagnosis of a disorder, making it difficult to deliver mental health interventions to very young children.

The Issue Brief looks at the unique mental health needs of very young children and identifies billing solutions that allow providers to address concerns early, before more serious problems develop.

Conference Registration Now Open!

The 2020 Childhood Conversations/Together We Will Conference registration is now open! The conference will focus on a one-day event this year, Friday, April 3, 2020. This year's conference will focus on exploring the landscape of equity and bias through the lens of social-emotional learning. The keynote will be nationally-known speaker, Dr. Rosemarie Allen, Associate Professor, School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Early bird rates are available. Register today!


Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: Alliance for Early Success, Children's Fund of Connecticut, 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; Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; and the Partnership for America's Children.