“Spending on early childhood is our best investment in the future.”
Study after study has borne out this message, and few people would disagree that supporting children during their earliest years has a deep, far-reaching impact. However, this year in Connecticut, multiple early childhood programs are at risk of losing some or all of their state funding, and according to the Connecticut Association for Human Services, more than half of the budget cuts proposed by Governor Malloy fall on programs that impact children and families.
At the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance’s 2015 Advocacy Day on April 15, parents, child care providers, and advocates from across the state traveled to Hartford to fight back against budget cuts. “These cuts are deep, they are unfair, and they are short-sighted,” stated Nick DeFiesta, Connecticut Voices for Children’s Fiscal Policy Fellow, before encouraging the audience to meet with legislators and ask them to fully fund critical early childhood programs.
State legislators from both parties attended the event to show their support for early childhood programs. “Every child deserves a chance to succeed in the state of Connecticut,” said Representative Tony Hwang.
Legislators at the event also recognized the important role of child care providers who work with young children. “The biggest barrier to high-quality child care is low wages for early childhood educators,” said Senator Beth Bye, who is a former child care center director herself. “High quality child care helps parents go to work without worrying about their children,” she continued. Kathy Queen, the director of a child care center in Wallingford, echoed Senator Bye’s message. When she asked the audience, “Is it time to start paying our early childhood teachers what they deserve?” the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Take Action Now
After the Advocacy Day event adjourned, advocates walked from the Capitol to the Legislative Office Building to meet with their legislators in person and have in-depth conversations about what the proposed budget cuts could mean for children and families.
Couldn’t attend Advocacy Day 2015 in person? There is still a way to support early childhood and share your perspective: click here to write to your Connecticut representatives and senators and ask them to reinstate funding for vital programs for children and families.