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Hartford Foundation President Linda J. Kelly's Testimony Before the Education Committee

For nearly 90 years, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of life for residents in the Greater Hartford region through responsive grantmaking, special initiatives and partnerships with the nonprofit, philanthropic, and private and public sectors.  Our strategic plan,Accelerate Success, calls for the Foundation to play an even stronger leadership role in the educational readiness and success of children in our region and to make full use of the philanthropic tools that community foundations have at their disposal.  Part of this effort includes being engaged with state policymakers on key issues impacting our region. 

On Monday, Monday, February 24, Linda J. Kelly, submitted legislative testimony to the legislature’s Appropriations Committee in support of Senate Bill 25 that will create in statute the Office of Early Childhood.  The statutory establishment of a statewide Office of Early Childhood, reporting directly to the Governor and bringing together early childhood services and programs from diverse state agencies, is essential for a high-quality, comprehensive, and coordinated system of early childhood services. On Monday, March 3,  Linda J. Kelly submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 25 and Senate Bill 26 which expands high-quality early childhood education to towns designated as an alliance district, but whose school district is not a priority school district.  The new eligibility to access high-quality, accredited prekindergarten programs increases opportunities for children in the region served by the Hartford Foundation -- in Bloomfield, East Windsor, Manchester, Vernon, Windsor and Windsor Locks -- to arrive at the Kindergarten door ready to learn and succeed.  

 

Testimony before the Education Committee
S.B. 25 - An Act Establishing the Office of Early Childhood 
S.B. 26 An Act Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Education
Submitted by Linda J. Kelly, President
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Monday, March 3, 2014

Senator Stillman, Representative Fleischmann, and members of the Education Committee:

I am Linda J. Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (Hartford Foundation), the community foundation for the 29-town greater Hartford region.  Our mission is to put philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities within the Greater Hartford region. For more than two decades, the Foundation has invested significantly in early childhood through its Brighter Futures Initiative and its support to the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative. Our new strategic work builds upon this deep knowledge and experience to advance systemic solutions and new partnerships that address the root causes of the educational inequities facing the children in our region and ensure that these children, especially those most disadvantaged, are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. 

The Hartford Foundation strongly supports S.B. 25 that creates in statute the Office of Early Childhood.  The statutory establishment of a statewide Office of Early Childhood, reporting directly to the Governor and bringing together early childhood services and programs from diverse state agencies, is essential for a high-quality, comprehensive, and coordinated system of early childhood services.  As a community foundation, we value the conceptual vision embodied in the Office of Early Childhood that understands the child in the context of the family and community.  Through our work, we know that an array of services and supports are required to increase opportunities for children.  We need an Office of Early Childhood that provides vision and leadership to increase shared planning, coordination, and funding within and across the various systems responsible for learning, health and family support.   In addition, through our experience as a funder, we acknowledge and appreciate the role that a statewide Office of Early Childhood can play in building bridges between local and regional early childhood experiences and strategies and state early childhood policy and practice.

We recognize the work of Myra Jones-Taylor and her team, who have worked tirelessly to listen directly to families and providers, philanthropy and other stakeholders across the state and begun to implement best practice research to inform the development of the new Office. 

Legislation and funding is required to ensure a much needed transformation of Connecticut’s current delivery of early childhood services from a fragmented array of programs and funding streams over many agencies to an integrated, cost-effective and coordinated system.  The Hartford Foundation urges the Education Committee to fully support the creation of the Office of Early Childhood. 

The Hartford Foundation also strongly supports S.B. 26 that expands high-quality early childhood education to towns designated as an alliance district, but whose school district is not a priority school district.  The new eligibility to access high-quality, accredited prekindergarten programs increases opportunities for children in the region served by the Hartford Foundation -- in Bloomfield, East Windsor, Manchester, Vernon, Windsor and Windsor Locks -- to arrive at the Kindergarten door ready to learn and succeed. 

Thank you.

 


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