It’s Not Easy Being Three: The Effects on Young Children of Funding Cuts and the Absence of a State Budget

Back • Publication Date: August 25th, 2009

Authors: Annemarie Hillman & Cyd Oppenheimer, J.D.

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Because Connecticut failed to pass a budget by the start of the state fiscal year (July 1, 2009), funding for state agencies and programs since June 30 has been determined by executive orders issued by the Governor. Unfortunately, these executive orders reduced or eliminated funding for a number of programs vital to the welfare of Connecticut’s young children, including Family Resource Centers, Head Start, and School Readiness.

As a result of the Governor’s cuts, at least 8 of the 62 Family Resource Centers have closed, at least 33 staff at 13 FRCs have been laid off; and at least 17 FRCs have dramatically reduced programming. At Head Start programs, one or more classrooms have closed at 7 program sites, affecting almost 200 children; at least 3 more classrooms, serving 60 children, will close if there is no state funding in September; and at least 2 classrooms will close in September if state funding is inadequate to cover costs. At School Readiness sites, programs were informed two weeks into August that they would receive only 89 cents on the dollar for their July program expenses. They were given no prior warning that the August allotment might be insufficient to cover July services, and thus had no opportunity to cut back on services in July and reduce costs.

The lack of a budget and insufficient monthly allotments have already drastically affected Connecticut’s children and families, leaving significant numbers of children without the services they need to be ready for school, and significant numbers of parents without the child care and other services they need to be able to contribute to Connecticut’s economy as productive members of the workforce.