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Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Names West Hartford Legislators as ‘Children’s Champions’

Luke and Claire help Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the CT Early Childhood Alliance, present Sen. Beth Bye with a 2018 Children's Champions Award on June 26 at the School for Young Children in West Hartford. Photo courtesy: CT Early Childhood Alliance

State Sen. Beth Bye and State Rep. Andy Fleischmann have been recognized as 2018 ‘Children’s Champion.’

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The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford as a 2018 “Children’s Champions,” one of 12 to earn the distinction.

The Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

“Each of the legislators we’re recognizing this year stood up for children to protect funding for child care or to push policy change that supports families with children,” said Merrill Gay, executive director of the Alliance.

Legislation passed this year includes: A bill that will make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care, thus helping parents work and change their situations. Another bill that passed will allow the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to prioritize infants and toddlers if there is a Care4Kids wait list. It will also make it easier for the OEC to adjust provider rates for school readiness and state-funded centers. An act mandating insurance coverage of essential health benefits including pregnancy and immunizations also passed this year.

“In these tough budget times, it’s been difficult – given all the fiscal constraints – to fund early childhood initiatives. But we have successfully fought off various cuts and are always looking for ways to expand access to early childhood education,” Bye said. “I’m very honored to receive this award this year and to be recognized by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. But I have to say that over the past five years the legislature really has not done enough for young children, and we have to redouble our efforts with young children and families to get them access to the quality, early childhood experiences that they deserve.”

Legislators honored this year are: Rep. Cathy Abercrombie (D-Meriden), Rep. Michelle Cook (D-Torrington), Rep. Andrew Fleischmann (D-West Hartford), Rep. Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison), Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton), Rep. Bobby Sanchez (D-New Britain), Rep. Toni Walker (D-New Haven), Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Sen. Beth Bye (D-5), Sen. Paul Formica (R-20), Sen. Marilyn Moore (D-22), and Sen. Cathy Osten (D-19).

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security, for children ages birth to eight. The Alliance’s goal is for all children in Connecticut to enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn, and ready for school success.

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