Translate hfpg.org
Translate hfpg.org
Menu

Hartford Foundation Testimony in Support of House Bill 5449, An Act Concerning the Alignment and Merging of Early Care and Education Program Funding Streams, Eligibility Rates and Policies

On Wednesday, March 14 the Hartford Foundation submitted testimony to the legislature's Education Committee in support of HB 5449, An Act Concerning the Alignment and Merging of Early Care and Education Program Funding Streams, Eligibility Rates and Policies. The Foundation’s testimony offered its support for this proposal because it creates an opportunity to make critical changes necessary to improve the existing system of financial support for early childhood education by preserving and enhancing effective programs and providing greater financial flexibility to organizations. The Foundation supported the legislation’s efforts to allow the Office of Early Childhood to prioritize placement of infants, toddlers and children with special needs in Care4Kids. This recognizes the importance of providing high quality, safe, nurturing environments for children at the earliest stages of development, and provides an opportunity to engage with families at the beginning of a child’s educational track. The Foundation also asked that any changes to school readiness funding establish a floor of adequate support in recognition of the fact that providing high-quality early childcare services is expensive and requires sustained and consistent investment. The testimony also asked that when considering funding of early childcare, that the legislature acknowledge that the current financial instability of the field requires innovative thinking and flexible solutions to find business models that support quality care and livable wages for early childhood teachers. 

 

*****

Testimony Regarding House Bill 5449, An Act Concerning the Alignment and Merging of Early Care and Education Program Funding Streams, Eligibility Rates and Policies
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Education Committee
March 14, 2018

Senator Boucher, Senator Slossberg, Representative Fleishmann, Representative Lavielle and distinguished members of the Education Committee, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is grateful to have this opportunity to offer testimony in support of HB 5449 An Act Concerning the Alignment and Merging of Early Care and Education Program Funding Streams, Eligibility Rates and Policies.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region.  We are the largest community foundation in Connecticut, and among the largest 20 community foundations in the country.  With a mission to put philanthropy into action to promote equitable opportunity for all residents in our region, the Foundation has long prioritized high-quality early childhood programs and system building based on research that confirms that investing in early childhood drives children’s success in school and life, and is an effective strategy to promote economic growth.  Since 1987, we have invested more than $40 million in early childhood in the Greater Hartford area, primarily through the Brighter Futures Initiative and the Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative.  In 2017, the Foundation awarded grants totaling $34.5 million, with nearly $1.8 million dedicated to early childhood system building in our region and statewide. 

Our efforts include playing a significant role in the creation and support of the Office of Early Childhood. The Foundation has focused on supporting early childhood policy, funding and program quality recognizing their importance in ensuring optimal safety and learning outcomes for children, and pathways to economic security for their families and caregivers.  We believe that HB 5449 provides an opportunity to make critical changes necessary to improve the existing system of financial support for early childhood education by preserving and enhancing effective programs and providing greater financial flexibility to organizations.

The Hartford Foundation is grateful for the bipartisan work legislators have done to reopen the Care4Kids program, which is one of the most effective ways to provide access to quality, affordable childcare, allow individuals to enter and stay in the workforce and stabilize the availability of childcare for working families. We support this legislation’s efforts to allow the Office of Early Childhood to prioritize placement of infants, toddlers and children with special needs in Care4Kids. This change correctly recognizes the importance of providing high quality, safe, nurturing environments for children at the earliest stages of development, and provides an opportunity to engage with families at the beginning of a child’s educational track.

We also appreciate H.B. 5449’s request to allocate two percent of the Office of Early Childhood’s funding to support evaluation’s for state programs for young children. The Foundation asks that these evaluations measure children’s holistic growth and development and recognize the impact services have on families with young children. We also believe these evaluations must make an effort to evaluate the impacts of services over the long-term in order to get a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the quality of state programming, and can provide opportunities for close collaboration between the Office of Early Childhood and the State Department of Education on ensuring the continuity of policies and practices that support all children.

The Foundation also asks that any proposed changes to school readiness funding establish a floor of adequate support in recognition of the fact that providing high-quality early childcare services is expensive and requires sustained and consistent investment. Any consideration of funding must also acknowledge the importance of providing early childcare providers with living wages as low-wages resulting in extensive turnover and increases instability for children. The current financial instability of the field requires innovative thinking and flexible solutions to find business models that support quality care and livable wages for early childhood teachers.

We ask that you continue to do all you can to continue to make long-term investments in supporting a comprehensive early childhood system and build off the successes we have seen in recent years. Supporting early childhood system-building must include preserving the State Office of Early Childhood that provides an undiluted focus on early childhood quality and accountability; two-generational approaches that more efficiently deploy public resources through a focus on whole-family results and increased parental employment; a fully funded state child care subsidy program for low-income, working families; and adequate reimbursement rates and career pathway supports for early childhood providers, many of whom are women small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony. 

 


Back to Top
^