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April 14, 2009

Success By Six Advisory Council Urges Legislators to Protect Early Childhood Services

United Way of Greater New Haven would like to share a letter from Co-Chairs John Leventhal and Stephanie Redding on behalf of the Success By Six Advisory Council that was recently mailed to area state representatives and senators from the following towns UWGNH serves:

Bethany, Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange,West Haven, and Woodbridge

April 8, 2009

Connecticut State Senate
The State Capitol
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

Dear Senator,
As Co-Chairs of United Way of Greater New Haven’s Success By Six Advisory Council, we are writing to urge you to protect critical early childhood services from the Governor’s proposed budget cuts as well as act upon early care and education funding opportunities through the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is our hope that as leaders who care about early education, you will continue to work with us toward our goal of ensuring that all children in our region are healthy, nurtured, supported and have the tools and skills they need to learn and succeed when they enter kindergarten by improving access to quality early childhood programs.

Not only are quality early childhood programs good for children, research shows that investing in such programs can generate government savings that more than repay their costs and produce returns to society that outpace most public and private investments. To that end, we urge you to at least maintain funding levels for Care4Kids, state funded child care centers, quality enhancement, school readiness and health services. In addition, your efforts to effectively advocate for early care and education federal funding opportunities around the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, IDEA and No Child Left Behind will enable area agencies to provide more families with quality early care and education services.

We also encourage you to support interagency coordination, partnerships and accountability so that the state can continue to build an early care and education system across government agencies system. Such a system would make it easier for families with young children to navigate the different programs with their different requirements and would ensure that the state’s resources are being well-used. The Early Childhood Education Cabinet was an important entity in promoting coordination and accountability, and we encourage you to keep this structure in place.

Similarly, the Governor’s recommended elimination of the Commission on Children as well as Children’s Trust Fund will take the state several steps back in its early care and education efforts. The recommendation that core grant programs for the prevention of child abuse and neglect be consolidated into the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is concerning because the success of the Children’s Trust Fund is the result of its singular focus on the prevention of abuse and neglect. In addition, a distrust of DCF by many families would create a barrier to important preventative services.

Thank you for working to meet the needs of our children now in order to avoid costly remedial strategies.


Dr. John Leventhal
Medical Director, Child Abuse Programs
Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital
Success By Six Advisory Council Co-Chair
Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine

Stephanie Redding
Assistant Chief of Police, City of New Haven
Success By Six Advisory Council Co-Chair

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