Great story in the CT Mirror about CAHS' new Bank On program, on how financial literacy can help alleviate the high cost of poverty.
Bank On offers classes that teach students and adults the basics of finance and credit so they can avoid the common pitfalls of predatory lending and expensive financial tools and save money. As part of the process, CAHS will evaluate services for effectiveness and make any needed changes.
There has been a lot of media attention on early care and education in Connecticut over the last week or so. First, Connecticut officials received the bad news that our state's application for Race to the Top funding was denied. The Malloy administration had hoped to land $50 million to implement a variety of initiatives to try to improve early education in the state. In a statement, Malloy called the application "strong" and plans to use the nearly 289-page application as a "road map as we move forward on education reform."
Just days later, Governor Malloy sent a letter to the leaders in the General Assembly outlining his principles for education reform. Those principles will serve as a “roadmap” for the upcoming 2012 session of the General Assembly, a session in which the Governor has repeatedly said he will focus on education.
Family Childcare providers also made the news last week, voting 1,603 to 88 to join the CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 union. There are about 4,000 Family Childcare providers in CT, covering all 169 cities and towns. They all participate in the Care 4 Kids program, the state's primary child care subsidy that is managed by the state Department of Social Services. It is the Governor's hope and the hope of many advocates that being able to unionize will give Family Childcare providers a collective voice to effect positive changes to the Care 4 Kids program.
Finally, CT Voices for Children released their 2011 Early Care and Education Progress Report. Key findings of the report indicate that funding for early care and education has been stagnant and is more than 10% below 2002 levels; Connecticut is not serving many of the children who need help with over 86% of infants and toddlers, and at least 25% of preschoolers living in struggling families unserved by any state or federal subsidy for early care and education; and Connecticut’s patchwork of early care and education programs needs reforming in order to streamline multiple funding streams and multiple agencies with varied reporting and eligibility and data requirements.
A new report by the Working Poor Families Projects calls out some disturbing facts about how public policies are increasingly failing American families. The report uses new census data to show that more and more families are dropping out of the middle class, and that by 2010 there were more than 10 million low-income working families.
- More than one in three working families had earnings below 200 percent of poverty
- More than 23 million children -- one in three -- lived in low-income working families
- Families with at least one minority parents were twice as likely to be low-income as white families.
"These families are the backbone of our economy -- caring for our children and seniors, preparing our food, working the cash registers..." writes WPFP's Brandon Roberts in the Huffington Post. "Policies at the state and federal levels can help change this trajectory of a shrinking middle class and a growing number of working families who struggle to make ends meet."
The solution? Higher education and skills training to lower unemployment and raise earnings; skills development; increased Pell grant resources and access; and improving wages, benefits and supports such as early care and education and health care for working families.
Now that FY 2012 is taken care of, it is time to be pro-active on the budget for 2013. No rest for the weary with these kinds of cuts on the table! Join others in a national call-in day today and tell the President to start the budgetary process on a high note by preserving and strengthening early childhood.
Stop wrapping those presents and take a few minutes to call the White House at 202-456-1111 and ask them to tell the President to preserve, support, and strengthen early childhood investments (including child care, Head Start, and Early Head Start, Section 619 and Part C, and the Early Learning Challenge) as he works on his FY 2013 budget. Early childhood is not only a children’s issue—but an important work support, as well.
We all know 2011 wasn't a great year on many levels, especially with a stagnant economy and many Connecticut residents struggling to stay afloat. But CAHS has some good news to report.
First, Governor Malloy signed a 30% state Earned Income Tax Credit into law, which CAHS lead the advocacy efforts for over six years. The EITC will put an average of $500 in the pockets of almost 200,000 hard-working families in Connecticut.
CAHS's program and policy work will continue to help struggling children and families by allowing better access to work supports like SNAP, HUSKY and the EITC. Also by improving early care and education for all Connecticut children and improving remedial education for young people and adults attending community colleges.
During this time of giving we hope you'll consider supporting CAHS. To make donation online, please click here.