The Changing State of Early Childhood, 2016 – 2017

Back • Publication Date: November 20th, 2017

Authors: Nicole Updegrove, Lauren Ruth, Ph.D., Daniel Long, Ph.D.

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For more than a decade, Connecticut has made expanding early care and education programs a policy and budget priority. The state has increased funding in early childhood in a real, sustained effort to build strong infrastructure and robust programs for the care and education of young children. These efforts have paid off: the state has greatly expanded access to preschool for low-income families and children in inner cities while bolstering support systems and infrastructure to increase program quality.

While the state has made great progress in ensuring that all children are prepared for kindergarten, it faces two significant challenges.

  • First, despite progress, deep disparities in access to preschool based on place of residence and family income remain.

  • Second, the growing move to austerity budgeting has put past progress at risk.

After years of sustained investment, Connecticut´s early care and education system is facing strong headwinds with the closure of Care 4 Kids and underfunding threatening early care and education programs and wrap-around supports across the state. Investments in early childhood for the public good should be part of an “opportunity agenda” for Connecticut: an agenda that looks to the future we want for our state and the investments we need today to make that future possible.

Connecticut Voices would like to acknowledge the support of the Connecticut Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.