The Connecticut General Assembly passed an historic budget and accompanying policies this legislative session. While we are disappointed that fair revenue measures to correct our regressive tax system were not passed, we celebrate the increase of the state EITC to 30.5%, inclusive state CTC language should Congress not enact a permanent expansion, and a plethora of policies that advance economic justice. As is our custom, we’ve laid out our take in our “2021 Legislative Session in Review.“
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report, “The State of Early Childhood During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which offers a total of six short-term and seven long-term recommendations Connecticut can use to reimagine the child care industry as an essential public service and infrastructure in order to address the longstanding barriers to the sector—exacerbated by the pandemic—and that get us closer to universal access to high-quality child care.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report, “More Than a Health Crisis: Long-Term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Connecticut Youth and Families,” which analyzes the impact of the pandemic on employment, basic needs, and education and outlines the necessity of prioritizing the safety and stability of Connecticut’s youth and families in the state’s recovery planning to avoid long-term economic harm. In order to understand the severity of the pandemic-induced recession on Connecticut’s youth and families, the report examines data collected between August 19, 2020 and March 1, 2021 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Surveys and compares the data against national trends. The report enumerates six overarching recommendations.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report that analyzes where increases in minimum wage may have unanticipated effects on some families’ receipt of benefits and hinder families with children from gaining economic mobility, despite increases in their income. The report entitled, “Impact of Connecticut’s Minimum Wage Increase on Access to Benefits for Working Families” outlines 10 policy solutions to mitigate the impacts of benefits cliffs—when a small wage increase leads to a significant reduction in public benefits. Benefits cliffs inadvertently worsen a family’s economic security, stifle economic growth by keeping individuals from participating in the workforce, and disproportionately impact women and people of color.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report entitled, “Separate & Unequal: The Interactive Effects of Housing and Education Policies on School Segregation in Connecticut,” which examines how residential segregation in Connecticut—and the subsequent educational segregation—persists due to ongoing racial discrimination, current town zoning ordinances, and school district boundaries. Find out how Connecticut’s housing and education policies disrupt opportunities for investments in Black and Latinx communities and what we can do to make the state more equitable.
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 entitled ‘Census 2020: Lack of State Funding Raises Risk of an Inaccurate 2020 Census Count’ that reveals the likelihood and heightened risks of an inaccurate count during the 2020 Census. In response to these findings, CT Voices is urging state leaders to prioritize statewide planning and investment in Census outreach and education to ensure our state isn’t impacted by the far-reaching consequences of an undercount to residents, state and local governments, dozens of federal and state programs and benefits, as well as Connecticut’s democracy and economy.