The CT Early Childhood Alliance has named State Sen. Beth Bye and State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, both of West Hartford, as 2015 Children’s Champions.
Submitted by Jessica Ciparelli, CT Early Childhood Alliance
The CT Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing 26 state legislators as 2015 “Children’s Champions,” including Senator Beth Bye and Representative Andrew Fleischmann.
Every year, the Alliance, a statewide outreach and advocacy organization, recognizes legislators who work 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.
Much of this year’s early childhood success 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.
“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.”
On Sept. 8, at the Family Resource Center at Charter Oak Academy in West Hartford, the two legislators were presented with their awards.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the CT Early Childhood Alliance to ensure continued expansion of access to pre-school, and continued state support for Family Resource Centers, Youth Service Bureaus, and other key organizations that promote the health and education of children and their parents,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann (D-West Hartford), House Chairman of the Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Education.
“I am grateful for this award, because the Early Childhood Alliance is a strong, grassroots organization that does important work,” said state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who co-chairs the Appropriations Committee. “We made some progress this session on state reimbursements for early childhood education providers, but we have much more work to do regarding access to high-quality early childhood opportunities for our families and fair wages for the early childhood workforce.”