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 with the Criminal Justice Advocacy Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School (CJAC) that examines the collateral consequences of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) on children with incarcerated parents. The report, “Incarcerated Parents and Termination of Parental Rights in Connecticut: Recommendations for Reform,” examines the unintended impacts of ASFA, a federal law passed in 1997 that shifted the goal of child-protection policy from family preservation to adoption, and outlines 18 recommendations to protect parental rights and promote the welfare of children with incarcerated parents.
Connecticut Voices for Children released a report, “Reduce, Reinvest, and Do Right: A Model to Estimate Savings from Reducing Connecticut’s Youth Detention, Invest in Nonprofit Community Organizations, and Help Communities Thrive,” that examines the marginal daily cost of keeping youth in detention and recommends ways for the state to reduce the use of detention and invest associated funds in nonprofit services that work to reduce youth crime rates. The report contains three key analyses: 1) the variable cost of keeping one youth in detention for one day, 2) the statewide and within-city costs of operating nonprofit community organizations shown to reduce crime rates, and 3) estimates anticipated crime reduction for adding nonprofit community organizations in Connecticut’s five largest cities. The report also includes recommendations that are classified into three main areas: 1) to decrease the use of detention, 2) to invest funding such that Connecticut reduces arrests and serves communities, and 3) to improve the transparency of justice costs.
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 ‘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 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.
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.
While the status quo state budget plan approved by policymakers did not offer many bold new investments in children and families, other policy changes approved during this year’s legislative