CT Early Childhood Alliance Names 2015 Children’s Champions Recipients

September 30, 2015

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing 26 state legislators as 2015 “Children’s Champions,” including Rep. Cathy Abercrombie.

Every year, the Alliance recognizes legislators who worked closely with early childhood advocates to shape legislation that impacts the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition and safety.

“I want to thank the Alliance for this award,” said Abercrombie. “It truly means a lot to me to be recognized for the work I've done around early education and I will continue to support family resource centers.”

Much of this year’s early childhood successes centered on programs and services that were saved from elimination or major cuts in the biennium budget, including Community Plans for Early Childhood, HUSKY A, Early Literacy, Parent Trust Fund and the Children's Trust Fund. Among the legislation passed, a bill that gives early childhood educators additional time to obtain their degrees, a bill that addresses safe sleeping practices for infants, a bill that implements a comprehensive mental, emotional and behavioral health plan; a bill that expands School Readiness seat eligibility by allowing programs to serve children who don’t live in the district; and a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to inform child care centers in emergency conditions.

“Most of the focus this year was on the budget, but some good legislation passed,” said Karen Rainville, CT Early Childhood Alliance co-chair and the executive director of CT Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC). “Advocates worked with legislators, including those named as Children’s Champions, to craft effective policies for Connecticut children and their families.”

“Children need advocates – both in and out of the legislature – to speak up for them, and to empower adults to speak on their behalf,” said Gail Nolan, CT Early Childhood Alliance co-chair, director of the Laurel Family Resource Center and Bloomfield School Readiness and member of The Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children. “This year’s Advocacy Day, the largest attendance the CT Early Childhood Alliance has ever seen, is proof that children have support both in and outside the Capitol walls.”