Weekly News - November 28, 2017

Governor Makes Adjustments to Budget

When the bi-partisan, veto-proof budget passed last month, the governor was mandated by the legislature to make $880 million in cuts. The governor has done so. Municipal aid, social service programs, and higher education, as well as labor cost-cutting agreed upon during concession talks, are all seeing holdbacks and lapses. To read more about it, click to CT Mirror and CT NewsJunkie. 

To early childhood advocates, the following might be of interest:
School-Based Health Clinics - cut $420,780
Family Programs (TANF) - cut $287,498 
K-3 Reading Assessment Pilot - cut $246,158
Evenstart - between targeted savings and delayed start, cut - $142,257
2Gen/TANF - between targeted savings and delayed start, cut - $337,500
Head Start Services - cut $103,740

Federal Updates - Tax Bill, Government Shutdowns and CHIP

Congress has a lot to do in a short period of time. The president is pressing hard for a vote on a tax bill by Christmas. Versions working through Congress would make enormous changes to the current tax structure, potentially creating huge budget deficits in the future. The government is also in danger of a shutdown if there is no year-end spending package in place, and states, including Connecticut, are getting really worried about the status of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has not been re-authorized. Governor Malloy has stated that Connecticut has about a month's worth of funds left for the program. WTNH Channel 8 covered it locally.  New York Magazine has MORE. There is a chance that Congress could wrap it into the year-end spending package.

CT Voices Releases "The Changing State of Early Childhood 2016-2017"

CT Voices for Children recently released its new report looking at the changing state of early childhood in Connecticut. While the state has made great progress in ensuring that all children are prepared for kindergarten, it faces two significant challenges. Despite progress, deep disparities in access to preschool based on place of residence and family income remain. And, the growing move to austerity budgeting has put past progress at risk. To read the full report, click HERE. 

Alliance in the News

When Samantha Dynowski presented the Wethersfield Infant/Toddler data to the Wethersfield Early Childhood Collaborative (WECC), the Wethersfield LIFE publication came and covered the annual meeting. The article can be found below or at this link or click on the graphic below:

Wethersfield LIFE

Background Check Fee Set to Increase December 1

In case you missed it, the CT Office of Early Childhood sent an email out over the ecelistserve to announce that with the new state budget in place, the fee to process background checks will go from $50 to $75. This brings the total fee for background checks submitted through the OEC for child care providers, child care staff members, and household members of family child care homes to $87 (this amount includes the $12 FBI fee).  The increased state fee, which applies to all background checks of individuals across the state for all purposes, is sent back to the State General Fund. Unfortunately, the state's policy does not allow anyone (including child care providers) to be exempt from this fee. 

The Office of Early Childhood acknowledges the fiscal burden that this fee increase places on early care and education providers and their staff.  While the Office of Early Childhood is legally bound to comply with the new law, it will seek other opportunities to support providers, including approaches to responsibly reduce costs and otherwise enhance provider fiscal sustainability. 

Please refer to the background checks section of the OEC website for more information on this change, which will be effective December 1, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the OEC Legal Line, 860-500-4466.

CT Early Childhood Cabinet Meeting Scheduled for December 15

Please mark your calendars for Friday, December 15, 2017. The CT Early Childhood Cabinet will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building, Room 1B. Agenda will be forthcoming.  

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; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; and The Fund for Greater Hartford.