Weekly News - February 6, 2017

Governor's Budget Plan Released

Governor Malloy released his biennium budget Wednesday. While budget analysts are thoroughly reviewing it, we can share what we've discovered so far. This is a bad budget for early childhood. Here's what we know:

  • The budget keeps Care4kids closed for the next 2 years. This would keep Care4Kids closed to all but current TANF families for the next two years. The impact of these cuts will be that as children age out, Care4Kids will largely cease to pay for early childhood services and become bascially a school age program. This will have serious implications for the economic viability of many early care programs, threatening care for many more children. 
  • It cuts $7.7 million from the Early Care & Education line item in FY18. That translates to approximately 1,100 children who won't get infant/ toddler, preschool or after school care next year. 
  • Head Start is cut $384,000
  • Child Care Quality Enhancement is combined with School Readiness QE and reduced by $212,000 (It is unclear what this means for local QE) 
  • Birth to 3 would move to DSS
The following are completely eliminated:
  • Community Plans for Early Childhood
  • Improving Early Literacy 
  • EvenStart
  • Healthy Start
  • Help Me Grow
Budget hearings will begin next week, starting February 14. Public speaker order for the public hearings will be determined by a lottery system. Lottery numbers will be drawn from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. in the LOB First Floor Atrium and from 10:15 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Room 2700 of the LOB. Speakers arriving after the completion of the lottery will have their names placed at the end of the speaker list.  The list of speakers registered through the lottery system will be posted outside the designated hearing room at least one hour prior to the start of the public hearing. If you need a lottery ticket pulled for one of the hearings, please let the Alliance know and we can help you, if you can't be at the Capitol early in the day. 

Thursday, February 16, Room 2C - Human Services Budget Presentations
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Department of Children and Families
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Department of Social Services
Budget Public Hearing begins at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 21, Room 2C - Elementary and Secondary Education Budget Presentation
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Office of Early Childhood 
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. - State Department of Education
Budget Public Hearing begins at 4 p.m. 

Thursday, February 23, Room 2C - Health Budget Presentation
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - Department of Public Health
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Department of Developmental Services
Budget Public Hearing begins at 4:30 p.m. 

Friday, February 24, Room 2C - General Government
6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Commission on Women, Children and Seniors
Budget Public Hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. 

Legislative Update

CapitolThe CT Early Childhood Alliance can now provide you with more detail regarding the bills that we have on our radar, particularly those that impact Care4Kids and the Office of Early Childhood. Last week, we noted a concern with a number of bills that seek to dismantle or weaken the CT Office of Early Childhood. Those bills include:
H.B. 6116, "An Act Transferring the Responsibility of Child Day Care Services from the Office of Early Childhood to the Department of Social Services; 
H.B. 6183, "An Act Concerning Restoring Oversight of the Care4Kids Program to the Department of Social Services;" 
H.B. 6841, "An Act Transferring the Functions and Responsibilities of the Office of Early Childhood to the Department of Social Services;" and 
H.B. 7706, "An Act Restoring Oversight of the Care4Kids Program to the Department of Social Services and Allowing for the Transfer of Federal Block Grant Funds to the Program." 
H.B. 7006 is a Human Services Committee bill that was subject of a public hearing on Tuesday. A number of Alliance members testified against the bill, as this bill attempts to "find" money for the program by moving it to another agency which might have surpluses more frequently than the OEC does. The problem is that this bill would remove many functions from OEC and move us further from the goal of creating a unified system of services, and there are no guarantees that there will be surplus money to transfer. With another tough budget year before us, it's hard to imagine any crumbs in any state agencies. The Alliance opposes any legislation that would dismantle the young OEC. Yes, there is room for improvement, but by dismantling it, the goal of a seamless early childhood system will be lost. 

Care4Kids 101

Join us for a briefing on Thursday, February 16, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., in Room 310 at the Capitol. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., we'll drill down into the details of the Care4Kids program - the big picture, who can use Care4Kids, how it's funded/administered, closure impact, current status, etc. - and from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., we encourage attendees to talk to their legislators, especially if they're on the Human Services Committee. Please contact your legislators and invite them to attend Care4Kids 101. Let us know if you get a commitment from them. 

Save the Date for Advocacy Day 2017

In a tough budget year and fast-changing policy climate, your attendance at the 2017 Early Childhood Advocacy Day is important! Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 20. Arrival time is 9:30 a.m., with the program running from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Capitol's Old Judiciary Room, followed by legislator meetings. More information will be forthcoming, but be sure to mark your calendars now! 

Dr. Gilliam to Present Implicit Bias in Preschool at Middlesex Coaltion for Children Meeting (Weather Permitting)

NOTE: If there is a delay to Middletown Public Schools or the schools are closed due to the impending storm, the presentation will be postponed to a later date (March 9). Dr. Walter Gilliam will present at the Middlesex Coalition for Children's February public meeting, Thursday, February 9, from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.  His new report on Implicit Bias in the early care system is eye opening and informative. Preschoolers are expelled at rates more than three times that of grades K-12, and in child care centers, the rates are even higher. Preschool expulsions and suspensions disproportionately impact our black children and boys, and especially our black boys, denying them access to early educational opportunities and contributing to later educational difficulties. Implicit biases appear to contribute to this disparate impact. Fortunately, there is much that we are learning about the potential role of positive supports, such as early childhood mental health consultation, and ways to more directly address biases that may help reduce the likelihood of expulsions and suspensions with our youngest learners. 

Dr. Gilliam is the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy and Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center.

Week of Action Planned for Paid Family and Medical Leave

The Campaign for Paid Family Leave is planning a week of action events starting February 13. They asked if we would share the information with our members and advocates.

Timeline of events: 

Valentine’s Day Card and Letter Writing Party

Monday 2/13, 6-8 pm @ the CT Working Families Party Office, 30 Arbor St., Hartford

Write your own valentine's day card, letter or testimony to tell lawmakers why we need them to act now on paid family and medical leave here in CT. MK Super 8, a wedding video service in CT and supportive business of the Campaign, will be on hand to film attendees sharing their stories. We’re hoping to later post these stories on social media and send them to legislators.

 Paid Leave Day of Action @ the LOB

Wednesday, 2/15 beginning at 12 pm in room 1C

Join the Campaign at the LOB where we’ll deliver our Valentine’s Cards and letters to legislators and let them know why paid family and medical leave is important to CT voters.

 (TENTATIVE) Paid Leave Public Hearing @ the LOB

The public hearing for both paid leave bills (S.B. 1 and H.B. 6212) will either be Thursday, 2/16 or the week after. More information to follow.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

February 2017 has been designated as "National Children's Dental Health Month." The National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America campaign and a dental sponsor have teamed up to promote good oral health, as well as good literacy skills. They encourage parents and children to brush their teeth twice daily, for two minutes at a time, and read at least 20 minutes a day. They offer some reading materials that also cover the topic of dental health. For more information, click HERE.  

Early Learning in ESSA

First Five Years Fund has released a resource tool on "Every Student Succeeds Act," which replaced "No Student Left Behind." The resource tool is meant to help states write innovative ESSA early learning plans. To review the FFYF resource tool, click HERE

CHDI Impact Report

CHDI has released a new IMPACT brief, entitled, "Promoting Children's Health in Early Care and Education Settings by Promoting Health Consultation." The brief summarizes research on the role and benefits of health consultation in early learning settings, and reviews policies, regulations, training, and payment structures used to support health consultation in Connecticut and other states. It also provides a framework for Connecticut to integrate health, through health consultation, into early learning systems by building on the opportunities presented by State health reform efforts. To read the brief, click HERE

Save the Date for CT-AIMH Spring Meeting and Seminar

The CT Association of Infant Mental Health will hold its annual Spring Meeting and Seminar on Thursday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Woodwinds in Branford. Dr. Linda Mayes will speak on how addiction affects the parenting relationship. More information can be found at www.ct-aimh.org   

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, 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