On June 1, the Alliance hosted CT Voices for Children at its monthly meeting. The main topic was the budget, or lack-there-of. No one is expecting a budget to be in place before the end of session on . Some are holding out hope for a budget by the end of the fiscal year (). The more realistic expectation is this will take a lot longer. Leaders are likely to negotiate throughout the summer and call rank-and-file in for a special session when they have a deal in place. If there is no budget in place by , the Governor has enormous power to manage state spending, including recessions and withholding payments.
All four budget proposals keep Care4Kids closed - noNe of the budgets would re-open it the way it was one year ago. Democrats and Senate GOP put a little bit more money in that could start to take families off the waiting list, but the Governor and House GOP maintain a hard closure. The Democratic budget and Senate GOP budget seeks to dissolve the OEC into the State Department of Education. The Governor's budget proposes a 50% cut to Family Resource Centers, where the Democrats propose a 25% cut. All four proposals eliminate Help Me Grow (a model program for the country), Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, and reduce Early Head Start. None of these budget proposals have enough votes to pass before the end of the session.
CT Voices for Children has done an analysis of the proposals and the impact the proposals have on what is known as "The Children's Budget." (NOTE: This report was completed before the Senate GOP put out a new proposal. An addendum is expected to be released.) CT Public News Service takes a closer look at the impact on The Children's Budget and how new revenue options must be considered.
NOW is the time to contact your legislators. They need to hear from their constituents. Other groups and organizations will be fighting for their piece of the budget pie as well, so contact your legislators and tell them to protect children and families in Connecticut. Tell them not to dissolve the Office of Early Childhood, tell them not to make cuts to FRCs, tell them not to eliminate Help Me Grow, Healthy Start, Community Plans for Early Childhood, or reduce Early Head Start. Tell them Care4Kids must be fully-funded at $157 million (you can email your legislators HERE if you haven't already regarding Care4Kids). Bottom line is we NEED NEW REVENUE. A Care4Kids video to share on social media and with your networks can be found below. We are working on other actions and will share these actions once finalized.
We're in the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session. While much of the focus is on the budget, there is still legislation being passed and moving through the process. As we noted last week, SB 912 passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor's signature. There are a number that remain active that the Alliance is following closely in the final days of session. All bills can be found HERE. Among those of interest:
SB 912 - Early Childhood Workforce Issues: Postpones the dates requirements take effect, expands degrees allowable to meet early childhood staff qualifications to regionally accredited institutions. This bill passed both chamgers and awaits the Governor's signature.
SB 954 - Universal Pre-K Study Bill: requires SDE working with the OEC to develop a plan to implement universal preschool beginning in 2022. Approved by the Senate on May 17 and the House on May 19.
SB 1 and HB 6212 - Paid Family Leave: Two bills to establish Paid Family Leave system in CT. SB 1 is awaiting action in the Senate and HB 6212 is awaiting action in the House.
SB 767 - Childhood Obesity: Aims to reduce childhood obesity by prohibiting or limiting the serving of sweetened beverages, prohibiting or limiting children's access to cell phones, computers, video games and moving, and increasing participation in physical activity in child care settings. Awaiting action by the Senate.
In collaboration with the CT Association for Human Services and Community Renewal Team (CRT), the Alliance created and released a Care4Kids video, depicting what child care could look like if the Care4Kids program remains closed to new families. New families won't be able to take the place of families exiting the program, leaving child care centers and family child care providers with some very hard decisions to make. The video was shot on location at CRT's Early Care and Education Center on Locust Street in Hartford. Please share this video (click the screenshot at right to view on YouTube) with your networks and on social media!
CT-AIMH Offers Two Free Workshops on Early Childhood Obesity Prevention
The CT Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-AIMH) will be offering a FREE 2-part training on Early Childhood Obesity Prevention- June 19 and June 26, in New Haven CT, as a follow-up to last Fall's CT-AIMH Conference.
Why is this topic important for providers who work with infants and toddlers?
Day One: Come hear Monica Belyea speak about the Secrets of Baby Behavior, including how crying and waking may "trigger" overfeeding.
Day Two: In the morning, Debra Dickson will do some hands-on learning about introducing solid foods to toddlers, dietary choices and she will reveal the foods and sleep routines that may be promoting inactivity.
In the afternoon, Missy Repko will get you excited about infants and toddlers staying healthy through music and movement!
This 2-part training series is funded by the Department of Health (DPH) and supported by the Office of Early Childhood (OEC).
To register, click HERE.
Survey Could Net You a Free Membership or Conference Registration for CT-AIMH
In collaboration with CHDI's SAMHSA-Early Childhood Trauma grant and the Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative, the CT Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-AIMH) has developed a needs assessment survey that will collect data on any trauma training that has been offered (or currently being offered) in Connecticut.
Who should fill out this survey? Anyone who is working directly with children 0-6 or supervising staff that serve children 0-6 (and their families).
The purpose of this survey is to:
Identify current trauma trainings/offerings
Identify the gaps/training needs
Help CHDI and intentionally create and target trauma training as they move forward with their grant
Help inform state systems and programs on where they may need to enhance their current trainings.
As a result of this survey, CT-AIMH hopes that trauma-specific trainings will be put in place that help the workforce that serves children 0-6 (and their families) to be better prepared to work with and support young children and families that have been impacted by or are experiencing trauma. Each person who completes the 10-minute survey, they may select to have their name put into a lottery for a free 2018 membership to CT-AIMH or a free registration for the CT-AIMH 2017 Fall Conference. The deadline to complete the survey is . This project was made possible with the financial support of the CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy.
Expanding Access to Childcare Isn't Enough
Quality plays a big part in a beneficial child care experience, especially when it comes to boys. In fact, given the choice between a low-quality program and staying home, the latter could be the better option. The Atlantic has more on the new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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