Weekly News - September 6, 2016

Care4Kids Meetings Scheduled Across State

In order to understand changes made to Connecticut's Care4Kids program through the re-authorized federal CCDBG (Child Care Development Block Grant), a number of resources are being made available to parents and providers - one of which is meetings in several towns across the state. The meetings will be held September 14 in Hampton, September 19 in Danbury, October 6 in Torrington, October 13 in New Haven, October 15 in Middletown and October 20 in New London. Seating is limited and reservations are needed. To register, click HERE. In the "options" section, click the drop-down menu to find "Care4Kids Information Sessions." Click "book" to register for the meeting of your choice. 

Other resources available include the Care4Kids website, information flyers in both Spanish and English (also found on the website) and this week, a recorded Powerpoint presentation highlighting the important changes.

Alliance Honoring 29 Children's Champions 

Rep. Michelle Cook - Children's Champion 2016The CT Early Childhood Alliance is honoring 29 legislators as Children's Champions. Every year, the Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety. While much of the session was focused on filling holes in the budget, there was some important legislation introduced. Among the items passed this year: Repeal of the sales tax on diapers, which was included in the budget implementer and is set to take effect July 1, 2018; and House Bill 5466, which requires background checks and notice of convictions for any household member in a family child care home or group child care home. Important issues raised included paid family and medical leave, childhood obesity prevention, increased access to early childhood programs for homeless children, and recruitment and retention of the early childhood workforce. 

This year's honorees are:

Legislator of the Year: Rep. Kelly Luxenberg

Representatives: Cathy Abercrombie (D), Tim Ackert (R), Juan Candelaria (D), Michelle Cook (D), Jeff Currey (D), Andrew Fleischmann (D), Noreen Kokoruda (R), Gail Lavielle (R), Matt Lesser (D), Kelly Luxenberg (D), Patricia Billie Miller (D), Gayle Mulligan (R), Robyn Porter (D) Christine Randall (D), Bobby Sanchez (D), Diana Urban (D), Toni Walker (D).

Senators: Dante Bartolomeo (D), Toni Boucher (R), Beth Bye (D), Len Fasano (R), Mae Flexer (D), Terry Gerratana (D) Ed Gomes (D), Art Linares (R), Martin Looney (D), Marilyn Moore (D), Gail Slossberg (D), Gary Winfield (D).    

A Call to Action: Call Your U.S. Senators Regarding Mental Health Reform with Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Provision 

(From ZERO TO THREE) The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed comprehensive mental health reform legislation along bipartisan lines, including a provision to invest in infant and early childhood mental health. In March, similar legislation was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and it is expected to soon be considered by the full Senate. 

The infant and early childhood mental health provision added to the bill would:

  • Award grants to develop, maintain, or enhance infant and early childhood mental health prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
  • Ensure that funded programs are grounded in evidence and are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Allow funds to support:
    • age-appropriate preventive, early intervention, or treatment services;
    • training for infant and early childhood mental health clinicians to integrate with other providers who work with young children and families;
    • training for mental health clinicians in infant and early childhood mental health; and
    • mental health consultation to early care and education programs.
Please call Senator Murphy & Senator Blumenthal and urge them to support this legislation when it comes before them on the Senate floor. 

Webinar: The Costly Consequences of Not Being Socially & Behaviorally Ready by Kindergarten

Join the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for a webinar on Thursday, September 15, at 2 p.m. The webinar will include a presentation of new research from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium on child readiness for kindergarten. Deborah Gross, Johns Hopkins University, and Amie Bettencourt, the Fund for Educational Excellence, will present findings from their study on the costly consequences for kindergarteners who struggle with skills such as following directions, complying with rules, managing emotions, solving problems, organizing and completing tasks, and getting along with others. Learn about possible policy considerations for lawmakers. To register, click HERE

Report: NCCP Presents Findings on Medicaid Coverage, Related Policies

The National Center for Children in Poverty has just released a new report, Using Medicaid To Help Young Children and Parents Access Mental Health Services: Results of a 50-State Survey.The report presents findings on Medicaid coverage and related policies (e.g., rules about eligibility, screening and treatment practices) for key services:  Early childhood mental health services in pediatric, home, and early care and education settings; dyadic treatment; parenting programs; maternal depression screening during well-child visits; and behavioral health case management/care coordination. 

The report concludes with recommendations that highlight ways the results can be used by diverse stakeholders to strengthen supports for young children’s mental health.

Help California Make Diapers More Affordable, Just Like Connecticut Did

As you know, the tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products will become exempt from sales tax as part of the budget implementer bill here in Connecticut. Our friends at the Diaper Bank have asked us to help distribute this petition to help other states, in this case California, make diapers more affordable.

bill passed by California lawmakers would give families with children under the age of two and receiving assistance via CalWORKS (the state's welfare program), a monthly $50 voucher to purchase diapers.  

The bill requires the signature of Governor Jerry Brown by September 30, 2016, to become law.

Please pass this request along to any friends or colleagues you may have in California and if you feel inclined to do so, sign the petition

All Our Kin Co-Founder Featured in Time

Jessica Sager, co-founder and executive director of All Our Kin, had an op-ed published in Time. The piece focuses on how we value the ECE workforce. 

D.U.E Justice Welcomes Rev. Dr. William Barber to New Britain

The D.U.E. Justice Coalition welcomes Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Monday movement, to Central CT State University's Welti Hall for "Take Back Connecticut!" Thursday, September 8, at 6:30 p.m., join D.U.E. Justice in a call for good jobs and fair wages, universal access to quality public education, a vibrant and fairly funded public sector, racial, gender and ethnic justice; and democracy in our state and in our workplace. To RSVP, visit www.ccag.net. This is a free event. For questions or comments, contact Ann Pratt, CT Citizen Action Group Director of Organizing, at [email protected], or call Ann at 860-209-1234. 

The Diaper Bank Hosts "Rock Your Baby"

The Diaper Bank will host its annual "Rock Your Baby" event on Thursday, September 15, at Amarante's Sea Cliff in New Haven, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased HERE (click on the "purchase tickets" tab at the top). All proceeds from “Rock Your Baby” will benefit The Diaper Bank, a Connecticut-based non-profit organization that centralizes the fundraising and distribution of free diapers to poor families through existing service providers, including local food pantries, soup kitchens, daycare centers, social service agencies and shelters.

Connecticut Parent Power Hosts Annual Gala

Connecticut Parent Power will host its 4th annual "Red Carpet Hero Award Gala" on Friday, September 16, at the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden, from 6 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $100 per person.

Registration information is available HERESponsorship opportunities are also available. Any questions, please contact Marilyn Calderon at CTPP at 203-980-8511.

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, Connecticut Community Foundation, and The Eder Family Foundation.