2017 Advocacy Priorities
Connecticut faces a $1.5 billion shortfall in the state budget. Our state should not balance its finances on the backs of our children. The long term economic and social health and prosperity of our state depends on helping children achieve their full potential. This legislative session we must continue our commitment to remove barriers to opportunity and prevent the rollback of important state programs so that Connecticut can be a place where all children and families can succeed.
As Connecticut’s nonpartisan, independent children’s research and advocacy organization, we call for a strategic state budget that supports quality early care, education, and workforce development; thriving families; and equitable opportunities for all youth.
- Adopt a balanced approach to state budgeting by modernizing an outdated sales tax system, strengthening taxes on corporations, and reforming wealth and income taxes so that the state has adequate resources to invest in opportunity for all of its residents.
- Require regular review of business tax breaks to ensure strategic and equitable expenditure of tax dollars.
- Prioritize property tax relief to promote equity in educational opportunity and to reduce the regressivity of the overall tax system.
- Protect key policies that enable low-income families to meet basic needs, in particular:
- The Earned Income Tax Credit to make work pay.
- HUSKY health coverage to ensure that children, parents, and pregnant women have access to quality health care.
- The Care4Kids child care assistance program in order for parents to maintain employment and for their young children to receive safe care in a licensed setting.
- Two-generation initiatives that enable parents to support their children’s healthy development.
- Develop a plan to fully fund public education, promote a high quality of education for all, and address town-level disparities in education funding and opportunity.
- Improve access to high quality vocational education for all interested youth by encouraging collaborations and increasing the use of school-business partnerships, such as Career Academies.
- Invest in comprehensive integrated behavioral health services, building on the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan and the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Council’s diversion plan.
- Ensure that youth in state care are given adequate time when aging out of state care and discharged to safe, stable, and supportive environments upon leaving state custody.
- Improve data collection and dissemination to track the effectiveness of services, identify disparities in opportunity, and prevent children and youth from falling through the cracks. In particular:
- Require the Department of Social Services to report on continuity of health insurance coverage in the HUSKY program and to take steps to reduce gaps in coverage.
- Require the Department of Social Services to improve its collection of demographic data in order to better target interventions that reduce health disparities.
- Require the Department of Children and Families to report on key outcome measures for children in the state foster care system.
- Require the Connecticut State Department of Education to report on which schools and districts have school resource officers; disaggregate all data by gender, race, special education status, English Language Learner status, and Free or Reduced Price Lunch status; expand efforts to track education and discipline data for students involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
- Adopt the recommendation of the Diversion Workgroup of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee to implement the Community-Based Diversion System Plan, beginning July 1, 2017, through the reinvestment of dollars from system-wide reductions stemming from the removal of truancy and “defiance of school rules” from the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court and the increase in the total number of youth diverted from the juvenile justice system.
Download our 2017 Legislative Priorities (PDF)