2017 Legislative Briefing

Back • Publication Date: January 11th, 2017

Authors: Ellen Shemitz, J.D., Sharon Langer, M.Ed., J.D., Daniel Long, Ph.D., Ray Noonan, Alexandra Ricks, Lauren Ruth, Ph.D., Roger Senserrich, Derek Thomas, M.P.A., Nicole Updegrove

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We can all agree that children deserve the opportunity to develop to their full potential.  In Connecticut, that shared goal can become a statewide reality. 

Working from our strengths, and with the courage to address our weaknesses, we can build a more inclusive economy that enables all families to thrive, provides quality education for all children from cradle to career, and provides the support services necessary to ensure that no child is left behind.

In the past few years, however, Connecticut has struggled to reach these goals. Our state ranks well in national report cards, but national rankings mask significant intra-state disparities: where one lives, together with one’s race and ethnicity, too often determine the degree of opportunity available.  In Connecticut today, child poverty for non-Hispanic white children is 6 percent, compared to 33 percent for Latino children and 28 for black children. The child poverty rate in Stamford (6.7 percent) contrasts dramatically with that in New Haven (46.6 percent).

Our intention with this legislative brief is to offer a roadmap for Connecticut’s children, based on four policy priorities: family economic security, inclusive, high-quality early care and education, youth opportunity and fiscal reform. Each chapter provides a brief outline of the research, reports, policy briefs and proposals by Connecticut Voices for Children.

  • For children to thrive they need to grow up in healthy, economically secure families. In the first chapter, we provide an overview on how our state’s working families have fared since the recession, and identify policies we can implement to promote family health and economic security.

  • Children must have access to quality, equitable education. The second section provides an overview of Connecticut’s education system, from early childhood to 12th grade, and outlines how we can work to reduce educational disparities.

  • All children and youth in Connecticut should have the opportunity to thrive, including those whose needs are not met by their family, school, or community. The third chapter provides an overview of the challenges facing the state’s foster care and juvenile justice systems and what policies we can implement to support disconnected youth.

  • Connecticut needs a stable, predictable, and fair revenue system to address these challenges. Chapter four delves into the fiscal challenges that the state is facing, and offers a set of proposals to build a more effective tax system.

We envision a Connecticut that creates opportunity for everyone, not just the lucky and privileged few. Together, we can ensure a prosperous future for all of our children.