Connecticut Voices for Children released their Issue Briefing Book 2020-2022. Versions of this document have been developed throughout the 25 years of the organization’s history. As the state experiences the convergence of a health crisis, an economic recession due to that crisis, and a contentious and long-overdue conversation on race, the “Book” has been refreshed given Voices’ new, strategic aim toward economic justice and these unprecedented times. The Issue Briefing Book 2020-2022 is designed to be a starting point for shared knowledge around the research and recommendations that are fundamental to family economic security and the undergirding fiscal and economics, with the hope of advancing shared action.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that examines Connecticut’s school to prison pipeline and the racial disparities that exist across programs and systems. The report, entitled “Beyond Exclusionary Discipline: Re-Conceptualizing Connecticut’s School to Prison Pipeline to Address Root Causes,” identifies several structural and systemic factors that push students through the school to prison pipeline, which fall into three categories: discrimination, physical and mental well-being, and socioeconomic status. Additionally, Connecticut Voices for Children offers the following recommendations that seek to mitigate the factors that make it more difficult for students to achieve in school and put students at an increased risk of facing exclusionary discipline and justice system involvement: Connecticut schools should provide additional counselors, social workers, and therapists to support students and teachers. Connecticut schools should hire teachers and administrators who have backgrounds that are relatable to the students they serve. Connecticut schools should dramatically limit the use of exclusionary discipline to create an environment that is supportive, not punitive. Connecticut schools should provide teachers and administrators with ongoing training and support on anti-racism. Connecticut schools should expand services and partner with other organizations to provide greater support to students and their families.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that outlines the three, large, coronavirus-related Congressional bills to date. The report, entitled “Federal Efforts to Address the Coronavirus Pandemic & the Ensuing and Precipitous Economic Downturn” examines The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 116-123), which became law on March 6, 2020; The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127), which became law on March 18, 2020; The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), which became law March 27, 2020; and The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139), which became law April 24, 2020. This report, in three parts, describes the key provisions of these federal efforts, with emphasis on those most relevant to Connecticut children and families.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a second crisis response report, as part of a series of reports, that outlines what the state can do to support children and families during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The report, entitled “The State of Early Childhood: Can Connecticut’s Struggling Family Child Care Providers Fill a 50,000 Child Care Gap Amidst the Coronavirus Recession?” examines the status of Connecticut’s child care industry, specifically family child care providers, before the coronavirus pandemic and finds the state continues to see the following: a shortage of child care slots, high child care costs that are not affordable to most families, and a continuing divide between preschool experience between higher- and lower-income towns. The report explores responses to the pandemic that can help state policymakers create a stronger early childhood environment necessary for rebuilding Connecticut’s economy.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that outlines what the state can do to manage a recession and recovery that best supports children and families during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The report, entitled “Supporting Connecticut’s Economy: A Program to Manage the Coronavirus Recession and Recovery,” includes a total of six recommendations. Each recommendation categorized into two buckets: Using Monetary and Fiscal Policy to Support the U.S. Economy, and Using Fiscal Policy to Support Connecticut’s Economy. This report is the first in a series of crisis response reports that will be released over the course of April.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report entitled ‘Connecticut’s Estate Tax: Addressing Wealth & Income Inequality.’ Connecticut’s estate tax should be one of the most popular taxes in the state. It is a highly progressive tax that falls solely on the ultra-wealthy and raises millions of dollars for the general budget each year. Despite research that shows the estate tax has no real impact on millionaire outmigration, the myth that it does persists. This report argues that the estate tax is good for Connecticut and refutes common arguments in favor of its repeal. In particular, this report shows that the estate tax helps to reduce economic inequality, it helps to limit a major tax loophole that disproportionately benefits the wealthy, and it provides substantial revenue for the general budget.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report entitled ‘No Place for Child: Alternatives for Children Under 12 in Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice System.’ Children as young as 7 are subject to arrest and detention in the state’s juvenile justice system. Connecticut Voices engaged in developmental, legal, and social science research to investigate this phenomenon and the implications it has on children, their families, and our state. This report includes a set of recommendations that includes raising the minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age 12.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report entitled ‘Pathways to Continuous Coverage of Medicaid in Connecticut.’ Retaining eligible children and adults in HUSKY Health, Connecticut’s Medicaid and CHIP programs, is a key strategy for reducing the number of uninsured Connecticut residents and increasing efficiency within state agencies. The State recently implemented a new eligibility database and has made strides in increasing rates of autorenewal and simplifying the processing of paperwork. However, a concrete understanding of the causes of gaps in coverage for Connecticut’s HUSKY enrollees remains elusive. To assess the causes of these gaps, Connecticut Voices partnered with Health Equity Solutions to conduct focus groups on challenges faced by HUSKY enrollees and individuals providing assistance when navigating the enrollment and renewal processes. This report includes recommendations to ensure that fewer individuals experience gaps in coverage.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that examined the state’s income and wealth inequality and the state’s regressive tax system that exacerbates these inequalities. For at least the last 75 years, Connecticut has violated the first principle of taxation by disproportionately taxing its working- and middle-class residents. In response to these findings, Voices has developed a set of recommendations that focus on tax fairness. Designed to be ‘revenue neutral,’ the proactive recommendations seek to reverse the state’s regressive and inequitable tax system and, if implemented with urgency, will ensure the health of our state economy for years to come.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that examined the importance of supporting self-advocacy skills for youth in the care of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). After conducting extensive research using interviews, focus groups and surveys, the study finds evidence that youth in State care are more likely to fall behind on a number of metrics including education, housing, and college persistence. In response to these findings, Voices has developed recommendations that focus on changes to policy, programs, and employment practices as well as modifications in State law and funding to support these modifications. By establishing strong self-advocacy skills, Connecticut’s youth in care will be better prepared to address the challenges of being in care and have more confidence to strive towards their goals for the future.