Weekly News - July 3, 2017

Budget Update

July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, has come and gone, and Connecticut lawmakers did not pass a budget. That means the governor is currently running the state by executive order, until a budget is passed. Democrats are discussing a possible special session on July 18 to pass their own budget, and in the proposal as it currently stands, Care4Kids will remain closed to new applicants. 

CT Mirror and CT Newsjunkie have both reported on the close of the 2017 Fiscal Year and what's potentially ahead in the coming weeks and months in the state.

Richard Sussman, Director of Early Childhood Investments at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, penned an op-ed to the CT Mirror's CT Viewpoints, to urge the legislature to keep the Office of Early Childhood intact (the Democratic budget seeks to transfer the OEC to SDE). 

And an op-ed in the New London Day urges lawmakers to avoid an austerity budget (a primarily cut-only and reducing taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations). Connecticut needs revenue as an option to balance the budget. 

Time is running out to be heard. PLEASE contact your legislators!


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.

            Senate Democrats  - 860-240-8600 or 800-842-1420

            Senate Republicans - 860-240-8800 or 800-842-1421  

            House Democrats - 860-240-8585 or 800-842-8267

            House Republicans - 860-240-8700 or 800-842-1423                       

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. #fairbudget

CT Voices for Children Releases "The Economic Impact of Early Care"

CT Voices for Children has released a new policy brief, "The Economic Impact of Early Care," that looks at the economic impact of high-quality early care in Connecticut. The brief estimates the value of Connecticut's current early child care system to children, parents and the state, both short-term and long-term, and discusses how much creating universal high-quality child care would contribute to Connecticut's economy. This brief is the first in a two-part series exploring the current state of early care and education in Connecticut. 

CT Voices analysis concludes:

  • Providing enough high-quality child care to meet Connecticut's needs would generate $13.4 billion in long-term benefits to the state.
  • Keeping Care4Kids closed will cost Connecticut's economy $82 million in long-term benefits for the state.
  • Taking steps to improve program quality would also have a considerable economic impact, with a $2.35 billion positive impact for the state economy.

To read the policy brief, click HERE to download. 

Children's Oral Health - Does Your Program Take Care of Teeth?Happy Tooth Sad Tooth

Does your early childhood program encourage good oral health habits? They do at Mount Olive Child Development Center in Hartford. Children of all ages – their toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners – are all encouraged to brush their teeth after every meal. Oral health is also part of the teacher lesson plans to keep teeth healthy. Check out this cool little poster hanging in the center to promote healthy eating and oral health habits. Does your program do this? If so, let us know and we could profile what you're doing to ensure children have a healthy mouth!

NWLC Updates

The National Women's Law Center has a variety of information and asks for advocates and seek our help. 

The first ask is regarding "Child Care Now." This is a large-scale campaign effort to support a push for massively increased state and federal investments to expand access to high-quality child care for all children that need it and improve compensation for child care providers. In light of the current Administration’s focus on the issue and our desire to make real progress, it is clear that we all need to commit to a long term, ongoing effort to move child care to the top of the priority list for Congress as well as state and local governments. To help to move this forward, NWLC will be launching an online campaign hub in July.  In order to make child care a much more visible issue, the campaign will need all an outpouring of grassroots and grass tops support.  To that end, please join a long list of national, state, and local  group signing on to support and work as partners – click here to add your organization’s name! Let’s make this a very long list and ensure that every state is represented. Groups that commit to being a part of this campaign will be listed on the website. See the campaign description below:

Child Care Now is a campaign of child care advocates and allies developed by the National Women's Law Center focused on raising awareness among policymakers and the public about the child care challenges facing America today, including affordability, quality, and provider compensation. Child Care Now provides tools and resources to a diverse group of stakeholders to take action to elevate child care as a national priority. Together with a community of leaders and allies, Child Care Now aims to convince policymakers to make a significant financial investment to expand access to high-quality child care, enabling parents to work and giving children access to the high-quality care they need to succeed.

The online hub, hosted on the NWLC website, will feature tools, resources, and easy ways to take action or contact your Members of Congress. 

2) House Budget Resolution

If juggling child care and health care is not enough, there are stories circulating that suggest there will be a House Budget Committee mark-up in the near future. We’re not expecting good news. As reported, the agreement would call for:

- A bigger increase in the Pentagon budget than the President called for, rising to $621 billion (or $72b above the cap for FY18 in current budget law), but less than the $640 billion the Pentagon hawks in the House wanted.

- A decrease in domestic and international discretionary spending to $511 billion ($4 billion lower than the cap in current law for FY18). The President’s budget cut NDD by $54 billion (and increased Pentagon spending by $54 billion).

- $150 billion in cuts to mandatory programs over 10 years to be included in reconciliation instructions (and therefore able to pass in the Senate with a simple majority).

- No reports on specific dollar amounts for tax cuts, but assumption that the budget resolution would include reconciliation instruction for tax cuts.

3) New First Five Years Fund Poll

A new national poll from the First Five Years Fund shows American voters agree: early childhood education must be a priority for Congress and the administration. Click here to find the full results. Here are some highlights:

- 89% of voters support making quality early education for children from birth through age five, including child care, more affordable for working families to give children a strong start. This support transcends partisan lines.

- 85% of voters say there should be increased funding for child care that directly supports greater access to quality programs for low- and middle-income children while their parents work or attend school.

- 74% of the electorate says that quality early childhood education sets children up for academic success in elementary school, and 69% of voters say high-quality early childhood programs lead to a larger pool of highly skilled workers in the long term.

It is very rare that an issue receives such huge support across party lines!

Meriden Children First Seeks Strategic Planning Consultant

Meriden Children First is seeking a Strategic Planning Consultant to work with the organization to meet immediate and long-term outcomes.  To learn more about the consulting position, click HERE. 

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, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; 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