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, “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 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 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 entitled ‘Advancing Health Equity for Connecticut’s Children and Families Through Health Systems Transformation’ that reveals health reform efforts have the potential to improve health equity dramatically, yet evaluations of early models suggest a risk that reforms may widen racial and ethnic disparities in health unless equity is thoughtfully and measurably embedded. Changing our systems to mitigate the impacts of racism and the disproportionate burdens faced by children of color—such as higher rates of economic hardship and increased exposure to traumatic events—can have lifelong impacts that reach across all aspects of our society. The report includes a series of proposals to center health equity in health system transformation.
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.
The HUSKY Eligibility Manual for children and families is a tool created by ‘Covering Connecticut’s Kids and Families’, a state-wide coalition of organizations enrolling Connecticut families in the HUSKY program since 1999. It is designed to serve as a reference for advocates, providers, outreach workers, and community-based organizations who work with families.