Weekly News - February 25, 2019

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.

3/6 Will Be a Busy Day for Early Childhood Supporters!

PLAN TO SPEND THE DAY AT THE CAPITOL ON MARCH 6! There will be a lot going on, between two public hearings and action steps surrounding the Education Public Hearing on the early childhood bills - a morning press conference and a rally in the evening.

We are seeking teachers, providers, and parents who can testify or submit written testimony on particularly six of the bills listed above (see "bills of interest" for the six bills). If you know anyone who can speak to the need for decent wages for teachers and providers and the need for affordable care for parents, PLEASE send them our way.

Wednesday, March 6, Room 2E, 2 p.m. - Education Committee Public Hearing on Early Childhood Bills. This hearing is exclusively early childhood bills.

To sign up to testify/participate in the activities of our Day of Action, please sign up HERE.

The Appropriations Committee will hold its public hearing on the Education Budget on March 6. Public testimony will begin at 4 p.m.

Bill Update

(From the Campaign for Paid Family Leave) S.B. 1 and H.B. 5003 pass Labor Committee: On February 19, the Labor and Public Employees Committee voted to advance S.B. 1 and H.B. 5003, 9-5. The substitute language passed out of committee covers state employees who are not part of a collective bargaining unit (CBA) and allows municipal or board of education (BOE) employees who are not part of a CBA to participate in the program once the local bargaining unit is included. Both bills were sent to the House and Senate floor, where they will then be referred to either the Finance or Appropriations Committee. Also last week, Governor Lamont proposed S.B. 881 - An Act Establishing a Paid Family Leave Program

Governor Releases Budget Plan

Governor Lamont released his budget plan on Wednesday, February 20, and we are reviewing it. So far, from what we can tell, Care4Kids has a $4.9 million increase in Fiscal Year 2020 and a $9.8 million increase in Fiscal Year 2021. Viewing it via the line item can be confusing. It appears there was a reduction, but it's not - it has been replaced by federal funds, as Connecticut has some carryover federal dollars from Care4Kids expenditures in past years. The governor did propose an appropriation to the Department of Labor to begin a Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

Resilience Screening at State Capitol

On Tuesday, February 26, at 1 p.m., the public is invited to attend a screening of the documentary "Resilience" in Room 310 of the  State Capitol (room directly across the floor from Old Judiciary Room). The screening will be followed by a "talk back" and Connecticut bills that would tie in with the films theme of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Directed by James Redford (Robert Redford's son), the film delves into the science of ACEs and was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. To watch the film's trailer, click HERE. To register for the event, please click HERE.

Waterbury 2019 Early Childhood Symposium

On Friday, March 8, the Waterbury Mayor's Early Childhood Cabinet, School Readiness Council and Bridge to Success will be hosting the 2019 Early Childhood Symposium at Rotella School, 380 Pierpont Road, Waterbury, from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. The symposium will include "Circle of Security in Waterbury," presented by Charlie Slaughter, "Pyramid Model in Practice," presented by Sue Vivian, and a viewing of "Resilience," followed by table talks. Please register HERE. The full flier can be seen HERE.

Register Childhood Conversations/Together We Will Conference, March 29-30

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Join us for the annual conference, held this year on Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, in Windsor (Hartford-Windsor Airport Marriott). This year's theme is learning to support and develop children's social-emotional skills to reduce challenging behaviors, strengthen families and communities.  You can register for one or both days of the conference. For more information, click HERE!