Investments in education and health are needed to bolster Connecticut’s children, a new annual report found.
It ranks the same in education, but has dropped in terms of kids’ health. And the number of young children not enrolled in preschool has inched up from 35% between 2012 and 2016, to 39% by 2021.
Emily Byrne, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, said state investments in early childhood education are needed.
“Instituting more supports for early care, for providers to be compensated in their role for delivering the educational building blocks our youngest residents need,” Byrne outlined. “And a Child Tax Credit, for providing more affordability for parents, in terms of offsetting the high cost of raising children in our state.”
She noted affordable housing is another area in need of state investment. Rising inflation has led to high rents and high eviction rates. Last year saw more than 21,000 evictions in the state, according to the Connecticut Fair Housing Coalition. The General Assembly considered legislation to establish fair and equitable housing opportunities, but it did not pass.
In Connecticut, fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiencies declined between 2019 and 2022, following a national trend which may be pandemic-related.
Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said critical education investments need to be made to help students catch up and succeed.
“It’s imperative that we invest in education systems to ensure that we can stem those gaps,” Boissiere emphasized. “We can sort of change the trajectory of poor children by improving the outcomes at those critical moments in their lives.”
She added education data are key indicators of whether young people will graduate from high school on time and go on to find good jobs.