Leading the Nation in Children's Mental Health Resources

June 3, 2022
Wednesday, I joined the bill signing ceremony for increased access to children's mental health services across the state, which signified major investments in the well-being of Connecticut children.
I have spent the last two years in office dedicated to the expansion of children's mental health services in Connecticut, which included:
  • Establishing a working group in the 2021 session in PA 21-35 to develop recommendations for the strategic expansion of school-based health center services in the state. Recently released data provided from that report named 36 recommended Connecticut schools for expanded mental health services, which were included in this year's SB 1.
  • Participating as a member of the small, bipartisan working group tasked with creating HB 5001, which is a culmination of dedicated work starting last November.

I am honored to bring this victory home for our kids. Connecticut remains committed to our children and families as we make continued investments in there wellbeing and access to all the services they need, including all-encompassing mental health care.

CT Economic Standing Improves
Connecticut's general obligation bond outlook was just raised from stable to positive by the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P). This pivotal economic news is due to our historic payments toward our unfunded liabilities, a record rainy day fund and smart investments in the future of our state.
The historic budget adjustment package we passed in the 2022 Legislative Session promotes financial responsibility while still cutting taxes and making meaningful investments in our communities. Connecticut currently has a $4.8 billion budget surplus and a $3.1 billion rainy day fund – the legal maximum for the state

According to the latest

budget estimate from Governor Lamont's administration, our state is poised to pay down an additional $3.6 billion toward the long-standing unfunded pension liabilities. This pension payment is in addition to the $2.9 billion scheduled payment. Utilizing our budget surplus to pay down pensions puts us on a solid fiscal footing for the future and helps to save taxpayers' money. While we still have more work to do addressing our legacy pension debts, these supplemental payments are expected to drive down the minimum required contributions the state must make by as much as $400 million a year, freeing up those resources for other priorities.

If you have any questions about these new developments, please reach out to my office.

CIF Applications are LIVE
Last year, I voted for the future of our communities by establishing the $875 million Community Investment Fund (CIF). This is a transformational opportunity to invest in underserved communities in Connecticut through economic development and small business, education, and infrastructure projects.
The CIF allows $175 million per year for the next five years in bonding, with the option to renew the program for an additional five years. This funding will be directed to projects proposed by
eligible municipalities, community development corporations, or nonprofit organizations.

Derby is an eligible municipality and could receive grants available through the CIF for:
  • Capital Improvement Programs: brownfield remediation, affordable housing, infrastructure, clean energy development, and home or public facility rehabilitation
  • Small Business Capital Programs: revolving or micro loan programs, gap financing, and start-up funds to establish small businesses
Applications for the fund have been posted on the CIF website, the deadline for the first round of CIF funding is July 25, 2022.
Apply for the Fund
Learn More About the Fund
Review the Grant Process
Board Meeting and Information
I am proud to see our community recognized with the investments that can be made through the CIF. A special thank you to the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus leadership and the Speaker of the House Representative Matthew Ritter for all their hard work to create this fund.
Child Tax Payment Applications are LIVE
Applications for the Child Tax Payments ARE OPEN!
Any Connecticut resident who claimed at least one dependent child under the age of 18 on their 2021 federal income tax return may be eligible to receive a maximum payment of $250 per child (for up to three children) with the following income guidelines (higher incomes may be eligible for a reduced payment):
Anyone who is interested in seeking a payment must apply to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services with applications closing on July 31 - recipients will receive funds beginning in late August.
Apply for the 2022 CT Child Tax Payments
The Department of Revenue Services is in the process of reaching out to eligible households and I encourage you to share this information with any parents that may qualify.
What Does Our Community Need?
TEAM, Inc. is working on there annual Community Needs Assessment and wants to hear from you!

Residents of Derby, Orange and Woodbridge are asked to take this short survey, which will clarify what resources we need in the community to better provide for residents like you. The group is hoping to receive responses by mid-June, so if you are willing, please click or scan the QR code below to take the survey.

Free Transportation to CT Beaches & Parks
It is now easier than ever to visit a Connecticut State Park!

ParkConneCT, a transportation service that offers

FREE buses to Connecticut beaches and state parks, is now open for the summer season. This expanded service will run through Labor Day. ParkConneCT makes our state parks and beaches more accessible, ensuring that all residents will be able to enjoy Connecticut's beautiful outdoor offerings.
The following parks are included in the ParkConneCT program: 
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison)
  • Silver Sands State Park (Milford)
  • Fort Trumbull State Park (New London)
  • Sleeping Giant State Park (Hamden)
  • Sherwood Island State Park (Westport)
  • Osbornedale State Park (Derby)
  • Indian Well State Park (Shelton)

As a reminder, all statewide buses will continue to operate without fare collection until December 1st, 2022. If you are looking for a great outdoor activity during the summer months, I encourage you to take advantage of the free ParkConneCT buses.

For more information on the program, including a schedule, please click here.

Orange Bicentennial Celebrations
The Orange Bicentennial Summer of Celebration has officially started!

The Founders Day event was a wonderful ceremony honoring the history of our town, and the first of four official 'town cows' was unveiled! Representing "Spring in Orange", it is a beautiful piece of art and I encourage everyone to try and spot some of the lovely details tucked into the painted scenes.

Upcoming Events:

On Saturday, June 25 at 2PM, the Town will hold its Bicentennial Parade! If you would like to participate in the Parade, please click here to fill out the application by TOMORROW. The rain date set for the Parade is Sunday, June 26 at 2PM.

Memorial Day Weekend Celebrations
I had the privilege of attending multiple events over Memorial Day Weekend to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

One act that united each of the formal ceremonies was when the names of the veterans from each community who had passed away in the last year were read aloud.

We have collectively lost so many this past year whose experiences and sacrifices have made it possible to live the life we do. Now more than ever we need to learn from our past so that history does not repeat itself. Reach out to a veterans group to learn from them, and never forget the true meaning of this holiday.

In The News
Aid for Ukraine
As we continue to watch the horrifying and saddening conflict between Russia and Ukraine, I wanted to remind you all that we do not have to sit back helplessly, there are ways we can offer aid and support to the innocent citizens of Ukraine.

Fellow community member, Olena Lennon, provided us with this list of legitimate donation sites for aid to the Ukrainian community.

Click here to help volunteer to help Ukraine.

Click here to learn more about projects helping Ukraine.

Click here to support funding to cover administrative costs to help Ukraine.

Click here to learn how to help Ukrainians.

Our community, state and country all stand with the innocent citizens of Ukraine and we will continue to do all we can to offer support while actively trying to deescalate conflict.