Weekly News - March 26, 2018

Federal Update: More Child Care Funding, But SNAP Targeted in Farm Bill

Good news for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Late last week, the U.S. House and Senate passed the omnibus spending bill, which keeps the government running through September, and on Friday, President Trump signed it. The spending bill includes $2.37 billion for CCDBG, which helps states fund child care subsidies, like Care4Kids. CCDBG funding was increased by 80%. This would mean Connecticut should expect approximately $15 million coming from the federal government for child care. Besides CCDBG, the bill also increases:

  • A $610 million increase for Head Start ($115 million of that for Early Head Start that will be used for Early Head Start expansion or Early Head Start/child care partnerships)
  • A $35 million increase for CCAMPIS that funds child care for mothers in college
  • A $20 million increase for 21st Century Community Learning Centers which supports after school programs
  • A $11.4 million increase for Part C of IDEA
  • A $12.8 million increase for Part B Sec 619 of IDEA
  • Flat funding for Preschool Development Grants at $250 million

CT Mirror has MORE.

But with the good news, comes some concerning news. Congress is on a two-week recess until April 9. When members return, they are expected to take up the Farm Bill, which includes the SNAP program, and is reauthorized every five years. Many advocates are concerned about potentially harmful cuts and changes (changes such as the "USDA Food Packages," stricter eligibility requirements, stricter work requirements). According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) intends to proceed with the Farm Bill without negotiating a bipartisan agreement. So during the two week recess, this is the time to contact your Members of Congress. While there is no Connecticut representation on the House Agriculture Committee, they need to hear that there’s strong opposition to SNAP cuts and harmful changes in the Farm Bill. Members of the House will have to analyze Chairman Conaway’s version of the Farm Bill and decide if they will support it. Over in the Senate, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) continues to work on a bipartisan proposal in the Senate for action this spring. It is expected the House version will be marked up in mid-April. 

Nutritional Food Standards and Water Talk

The CT Department of Public Health, Ct State Department of Education, CT Office of Early Childhood, and UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, released a flyer on the Child and Adult Care Food Program and nutrition standards - both in English and Spanish - that was sent to licensed child care centers recently.  Per Connecticut regulations, all licensed child care centers and group child care homes serving meals and/or snacks are required to follow nutrition standards established by the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program. You can also find the nutrition standards HERE.

Now, let's talk about water. When you're thirsty, what do you reach for? A soda? Juice? Maybe water? Did you know that the first two options, if you're a child, may lead to tooth decay and unhealthy weight? But the third one, water...that's the one you'll hopefully reach for when it comes to your thirst and your child's thirst. Last Tuesday, Marcia Pessolano, a nutrition consultant at the Department of Public Health and Sally Mancini, Director of Advocacy Resources at UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, joined Mike Bellamy on "Coffee Break Chat" on WICC 600AM. They talked about a recent toolkit, 'Water First for Your Thirst" that has been created for child care providers, both center-based and home-based, on the merits of drinking water.  To listen to the full interview, click HERE

Week of the Young Child, April 16-20

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families. This year's celebration runs from April 16-20. Are you planning to celebrate? Let us know what your plans are - email Jessica at [email protected].

Middlesex Coalition for Children Meeting

The Children's Budget and Race and Equity in Education will be topics of the next Middlesex Coalition for Children's monthly meeting, April 12, 9 a.m., deKoven House, 27 Washington Street, Middletown. Ellen Shemitz and Camara Stokes Hudson of Connecticut Voices for Children will present data on the state economy and the state of Connecticut's children. 

CTAEYC Spring Programs

CT Association for the Education of Young Children (CTAEYC) is offering two spring programs - one in April and one in May, courtesy of the Greater New Haven Region Chapter of the organization. The April 5 program focuses on child trauma and the May 3program focuses on math concepts. Both take place at Bethesda Lutheran Church from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, click HERE.

Early Bird is Expiring Soon! Register for Childhood Convos/Together We Will

Spring has sprung and that means the annual Childhood Conversations/Together We Will Conference is coming. Hear from national and state experts at this one of a kind event.  The conference, "Facing Today's Challenges, Embracing Tommorrow's Success" will focus on children and families facing trauma. Among the questions that will be answered:

  • What skills do you need to work with children and families facing trauma?
  • How do you connect with others doing similar work across sectors?
  • How does your organization become trauma informed?
  • Do you effectively help children understand, identify, and cope with emotions?
  • What can we do to increase resilience in the children we serve?

March 31, the early bird rate ends...don't pay full price, register today! On the fence about coming? Take a minute and register today! Spaces are filling fast. Register HERE. See the brochure HERE.

Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, Connecticut Health Foundation, Connecticut Community Foundation, Children's Fund of Connecticut, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; and The Fund for Greater Hartford.