Hello Members and people who support children!
This is the weekly advocacy alert email from the Middlesex Coalition for Children and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. Our action alerts will focus on issues, budgets and bills that affect children and families in Connecticut. This alert will be sent out more or less weekly during the 2020 Legislative Session (Feb 5-May 6, 2020) and will have everything you need to know to be the most effective advocate for children that you can be!
What Are the Major Issues/Dates of Focus This Week (Feb. 10)?
On Thursday, Feb. 13th at 4 pm, there is an Appropriations Public Hearing where people will have the opportunity to testify on education related items in the Governor’s Budget (see below.)
The hearing is Thursday, Feb. 13th at 4pm in room 2C of the Legislative Office Building. Sign up to testify for this hearing at 9 am in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, or email Merrill to have us sign you up.
The Governor’s Budget came out last week and has some significant line item changes.
Delays (Cuts from this year’s budget) the $100/child increase to School Readiness Providers and State Funded Childcare Development Centers (CDC) (-$2.7m)
Restores funding for Early Head Start Early Childcare Partnership Funding ($1.36 m)
Does not address the need for reimbursement/payment parity between CDC’s and School Readiness Councils (SRC is paid more per child)
What does this mean for my community?
The Governor's budget proposal cuts $2.7 million dollars from the Early Care & Education line item. These funds were in the budget to give School Readiness and Child Development Centers an additional $100 per full day, full year slot starting July 1st. That modest increase doesn't even come close to covering the increased costs in the years since the last time rates went up. With the minimum wage increasing, programs need additional support. We cannot delay this increase!
The Governor's proposed budget also cut $530,000 out of the state-funded After School Grant program, a 9% cut that would eliminate services for more than five hundred children. These two year grants were awarded this fall and are now operating at 75 nonprofit, municipal and school sites in 28 towns and cities.
The budget does nothing to address the lack of parity between CDC's and SRC, with CDC's receiving hundreds of dollars less in funding per child than SRCs.
But, the Governor's budget also restores funding for the Early Head Start Early Childcare Partnership Funding ($1.36 m), which wraps Head Start health and family services around home daycare/family childcare settings. This is important money and we want to keep it in the budget!
What Can You Do For Kids This Week?
1) Contact your legislator(s). You can click here to find the contact info for your legislator(s). If you email them, please include your address so they know that you are a constituent. If you call, you will likely be leaving a message or talking with a staff person. Tell them your name and where you are from.
Here’s the message: Restore the $2.7 million cut from the Early Care and Education line item. Child care and preschool programs that serve low income families can't raise tuition and need that money to be able to pay staff as the minimum wage goes up
2) Submit written testimony to the Appropriations Committee for Thursdays Public Hearing: Even if you can’t be there in person, submitting written testimony can be very powerful. It should be in word or pdf format and submitted by 2 pm on Feb. 13th. You must email your testimony to email@example.com. Please cc the ECA if you can. Click here for sample testimony. If you plan to testify in person, you can use the same document. All testimony, written or oral, becomes part of the public record.
3) Sign up to Testify in Person. Click Here if you’d like the Early Childhood Alliance to sign you up for a number to testify at the public hearing on Thursday. Please email Merrill by 8 am, Feb. 13th.
Here’s how the public hearings work: you can sign up by lottery to testify at 9 am. Once a number is pulled for you, you are assigned a place in the testimony list. There is very little way of knowing what time you’ll testify, except that you can know if you’re in the top or bottom half. You will have 3 minutes to testify, but if legislators can ask you questions, which sometimes stretches it out. All testimony, written or oral, becomes part of the public record.
If you don’t make it in time, they will just pass by your slot, no harm done. In theory, they will already have your written testimony (assuming you emailed it on time.)
You can click here for sample testimony on this public hearing. Please send it in to the committee by 2 pm on Feb. 13th. You must email your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like the Early Childhood Alliance to make copies for you, please send your testimony to the ECA by 11 am.
4) Share your story on social media:
Share your story to twitter
Tell your story in 3 short lines -- Purpose of your story in the first line, story in the subsequent lines
Tag @CTECA and use the hashtag #
Tag your local legislator
Share your story to facebook
Tell your story in 3-4 short lines -- Purpose of your story in the first line, story in the subsequent lines
Tag your local legislator
You may also want to tag legislators who should see it/ legislators we need to push on the issue. If those legislators are getting a bunch of tweets about the thing, they are more likely to respond.
Please contact us if you have questions or are confused. We’d love for you to do all of these actions, but any will help! Aside from testifying in person, it could only take 15 minutes to call a legislator, submit written testimony, and share a snippet on social media.