Weekly News - May 13, 2019

Perry Preschool Project Finds Inter-generational Benefits!

We've all heard about the Perry Preschool Project and the benefits it brought to the children who took part. Fast-forward to 2019 and the exciting news that has just been released - the CHILDREN of the children of the Perry Preschool Project are seeing benefits, such as being much more likely to finish high school without suspension, hold full-time employment, and spending at least three times the amount of time with stably married parents before age 18. 

This is very exciting news and we highly encourage you to download the report, graphics, etc, and share them with your social networks, spreading the word on this inter-generational success. This proves that programs DO make a difference! But we need to continue to INVEST in programs that are REALLY high quality, so we can replicate the results.

Oregon Passes Significant Early Education Investment

This week, Oregon's senate passed a historic $2 BILLION investment package for education ($1 billion per year). Approximately 20% of that allotment - $400 million - will be dedicated to early education. The governor is expected to sign the bill. Here's the announcement from the Children's Institute.

The vote went along party lines, mostly disagreeing with using gross receipts tax to raise revenue.The gross receipts tax will impact about 40,000 businesses in Oregon with gross receipts over $1 million. The first $1 million in sales will be exempt from the 0.57 percent tax. Businesses can subtract 35 percent of either labor or capital costs. The plan also includes a 0.25 percentage point income tax cut for most Oregonians.

Key programs included in the early childhood investments are Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, Preschool Promise, Oregon Prekindergarten, Early Head Start, and an Early Learning Equity Fund, among others. The full breakdown can be found HERE.

Background Check Meeting Draws Large Attendance

We had a big turnout on May 2 to discuss background checks with the OEC. Thank you to Eileen McMurrer and Michael Curley of the OEC for coming and answering the many questions our members have about the upcoming background check deadline. In case you missed it, the federal requirement states that by Oct 1, 2019, anyone working with children in a center (or any adult living in a family daycare home serving non-relative children) will need to have a completed FBI or State Police background check. This includes a fingerprint check. Many members reported chronic problems getting readable prints and currently, there is a 3 month back log at DESPP to process background checks. Many members had questions and we weren't able to get to everyone. If you have outstanding questions that you would like to have answered, you can submit the questions here. We will work to get them answered. We plan to bring the OEC back for further discussion at our September 5 Alliance meeting.

Some of the points made during the meeting:

There can be no more waivers from the federal government. If not compliant by 9/30/19, the state would be subject to a 5% loss in federal funds, which could mean losing millions of dollars for the State of Connecticut.

Right now, it takes 3-4 months for the state and FBI to complete the background check process. The goal is to get that process down to 45 days.

OEC is working with the state police to share resources, including a system that will have a lower rate of print rejection.

Legislative Update

Update from our Executive Director, Merrill Gay:

We're in the last three weeks of session. The budget is still in flux and there is still plenty of horse-trading before its resolved. NOW is the time to call legislators to urge them to give School Readiness and CDC programs more money so they can give teachers a raise. Also tell them that Care4Kids rates need to go up or we are going to lose federal grant funds.

Three early childhood bills that did not have a fiscal note are still alive. Those include:

  • SB932 Extending the deadline for BA teachers in state funded programs passed the Senate
  • SB930 Allowing a pilot for family daycare in business incubators on Senate Calendar
  • SB935 Requiring OEC to develop and early childhood educator compensation schedule.

Also of note:

  • HB7094 AN ACT CONCERNING A DIAPER STIPEND FOR CERTAIN RECIPIENTS OF TEMPORARY FAMILY ASSISTANCE. This would provide TANF recipients with children under 3 an additional $30 per month stipend for diapers. On House Calendar.
  • SB1138 AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY RESTORATION FUNDS. This would establish a tax on the legal sale of cannabis to fund community development corporations in low income community impact zones. The top priority for those community development corporations would be: "Encouraging early childhood initiatives through the provision, directly or in collaboration with other entities, of free or low-cost early childhood education services to families that reside within the community impact zone, without regard to family income level. JF from Finance
  • SB1 Paid Family Medical Leave on Senate Calendar
  • HB5003 House version Paid Family Medical Leave on House Calendar

Despite getting all of the early childhood bills out of the Education Committee with bipartisan support, we have hit the reality of a looming state budget deficit ($3.7 billion over the next two years). This means that the three Care4kids proposals below have stalled in the Appropriations Committee:

  • SB931 Increasing provider payments to the 75th percentile of market (NOTE: If you do the bill tracker, you'll see that the bill "passed" out of Appropriations, but it has been stripped of most of its original language. The proposed language can be found HERE),
  • SB934 allowing parents to use Care4Kids while they further their education or get training for a job and
  • SB933 increasing the eligibility limit from 50% to 75% of the state median income

Also dead is SB937 to create a loan forgiveness program for early educators.

Advocacy Day Scheduled for May 23

Please join the Alliance, along with the CT After School Network, for Advocacy Day 2019! It's Thursday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., in Room 310 of the State Capitol. Our agenda for the day will include discussion of active bills and any updates we have on the budget process. (Please wear yellow - it's been our unity color all session!) To RSVP, click HERE. Please let us know by end of day Monday, May 20, if possible, so we can have an accurate headcount.

DESPP Offering Saturday Fingerprint Collection for Child Care Providers

From the OEC: The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) is piloting a Saturday fingerprint collection program. In the first week of prints, 31 child care providers took advantage of the pilot program. There is one more date coming up - May 18. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1111 Country Club Road, Middletown, CT. After May 18, DESPP will evaluate whether or not to continue offering Saturday collection dates.

Be sure to bring $15 cash, check, or money order. DESPP cannot make change or accept credit or debit cards. Also bring a photo ID, preferably from the DMV or a passport.

Child care providers, staff members, volunteers, and household members who need to submit fingerprints for an OEC background check can take advantage of this option for Saturday fingerprinting. The OEC will also be announcing additional options for fingerprinting soon.

BIG THANKS to All Who Donated!

The CT Early Childhood Alliance is so grateful to everyone who donated to the 2019 Great Give through the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. We raised $375, and every little bit helps our organization.

Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: Connecticut Community Foundation, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation for Greater New Haven; and the Partnership for America's Children.