The Governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 shows a continued strong commitment to ensuring that all children have access to early care and education (ECE), but does not demonstrate an equally robust commitment to ensuring that all ECE settings are of the highest quality and can address the comprehensive needs of children and their families. The proposal:
- Maintains funding for School Readiness in Priority Districts and Care4Kids. By maintaining funding for the State’s largest infant/toddler and pre-school subsidy programs, the Governor shows a continued strong commitment to ensuring that all children have access to early care and education
- Reduces funding for or eliminates important programs that enhance quality across the state’s early education network, including programs like Even Start and Parent Universities, which recognize the need for a holistic, two-generation approach to early care and education.
- Cuts programs that support children as they grow and move through all stages of development. Although the Governor announced a commitment to extend full-day kindergarten to every child in the state by fall 2017, the Governor’s budget proposes eliminating programming for school-age children at state-funded child development centers and eliminates funding for Bridgeport’s ABCD Total Learning Initiative.
In these times of hard budget choices, it is praiseworthy that the state’s early care and education programs have been largely held harmless. However, access to programs must not be our only goal. We must spend wisely, investing in quality improvements and supports for children and their families, at birth and as the children grow. Only then will we ensure that all of Connecticut’s children can succeed in school and beyond.