On December 18th the FES Coalition will be hosting our first FES Policy Academy at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, right by the Capitol.
What is the FES Policy Academy?
The FES Policy Academy is short, intensive conference focused on giving community leaders the tools to become effective advocates at the state Capitol. This half day event will include workshops on the legislative process and how to keep track of legislation, testify at the Capitol, have successful meetings with legislators, and be an effective storyteller.
Our main idea is simple: your voice is important, and we want to make sure it is heard. Our objective is to help community leaders, case workers, service providers and board members learn the tools that will make them effective advocates.
The FES Policy Academy will be focused on two main areas: why advocacy from service providers and clients is both important and powerful, and how can non-profits be successful in their advocacy efforts. We will start with the basics of the legislative process, and bring in legislators and advocates to discuss how to bring change to it. Our objective is to spark action, not just teach.
- When: December 18th, from 9:30 am to 1 pm (including lunch)
- Where: Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut - Directions
- Registration is available through this link. Seating is limited - make sure to register as soon as possible - not many seats left!
- 9:30 to 9:45: Opening remarks - Jim Horan, CAHS Executive Director
- 9:45 to 10:15: Introduction to the legislative process - Susan Keane, Appropriations.
- 10:15 to 10:45: The power of advocacy - a panel with state legislators
- 10:45 to 11: break
- 11 to 12:35: breakout sessions - two rounds of workshops.
- 12:35 to 1:15: lunch
CAHS officially presented the 2013 Kids Count Data Book at the Legislative Office Building in the Capitol. You can find the whole book here in PDF form with detailed town by town information in more of a dozen indicators.
The really important part, however, goes beyond the PDF; you can also download the raw data at the newly revamped Kids Count Data Center. Here you can map trends, compare towns and regions and get a more detailed look at the information on the data book. You can generate reports by county, town, school or even Congressional district. You can also check the CT Kids Count score, and see how each region in Connecticut compares to the state and national average.
In a state where data is sometimes hard to find, the data center is a great resource for advocates and policy makers. Make sure to check it out.
Tomorrow CAHS will be presenting the Kids Count data book for 2013 (1 pm, Legislative Office Building, Hartford - be there!) tracking seventeen indicators in child well-being in the state of Connecticut. The book has four main focus areas:
- Economic well-being: town by town data on child poverty, EITC, reduced and free school lunch, SNAP recipients and Care 4 Kids enrollment.
- Health and Safety: town by town data on low and very low birth babies, pre-natal care, infant mortality, child death and Husky insurance.
- Education: town by town data on Pre- Kindergarten experience, CMT grade reading goals (4th grade), CAPT 10th grade goals and graduation rates.
- Family and community: town by town data of substantiated child abuse and neglect, teen birth and preventable teen deaths.
The recession has proved challenging, and the indicators on the data set point in that direction. There are, however, some bright spots in some areas:
- Family and community: two of the three indicators, teen births and preventable teen deaths, had substantial improvements, with 20%+ drops. Abuse numbers, however, got considerably worse.
- Health and safety: all but one indicator improved or remained stable. Even in this context, the only indicator that worsened (infant mortality) only had a modest increase between 2004 and 2009.
- Education: all four indicators had minor improvements in the past few years; preK and graduation rates being close to flat.
- Economic well being: this set of indicator was mixed - poverty is up, as well as kids eligible for free or reduced price lunch at schools. The safety net, however, has helped softening the blow; income support programs expanded eligibility and covered many new families, providing additional support when and where it was needed.
Overall, the situation is not a good one: there are more kids in poverty, and the huge disparities between the poor inner cities and wealthy suburbs in the state have widened. The safety net, however, has helped to limit the damage done by the recession, and our education system, although still showing a huge achievement gap between poor and wealthy districts, is slowly getting better.
We are not improving fast enough, that´s for sure. And we need to do more. But it is not all bad news.
We will release the full report and data from the Kids Count book tomorrow at our event at the Capitol, as well as online. The full report includes town by town data for all indicators, and will be available for download after the event. Join us tomorrow to hear from CAHS´staff and our panelist analyzing the data, and get a free copy of the book.