NOTICE: This is the archived website of former Governor Dannel P. Malloy. These pages are being preserved by the State of Connecticut for historical purposes.

The Malloy-Wyman Record: A Review Across Five Areas of Policy from 2011-2019

Governor Malloy and young students

Building More Equitable Communities

The Malloy-Wyman administration believed strongly that government can and should play a role in making sure that every person has access to health care, a high-quality education, an affordable place to live, and other basic services that ensure every person — and especially every child — has a chance to succeed. Most importantly, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman understood that these services must be equally accessible, regardless of what town someone lives in, or the color of their skin.

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  • Early Childhood

    “Ensuring that students are prepared to compete in a global economy and excel in twenty-first century careers means that we must strive to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and tools they will need from day one.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy signing legislation that established the Office of Early Childhood, May 28, 2014

    Nationwide, early childhood programming and policy is divided among multiple agencies creating fragmented services, uncoordinated policies, inefficiencies in spending, and, ultimately, poor results. This was the case in Connecticut, as well, until 2013, when an inclusive process led to the creation of a cabinet-level office to unify all early childhood programs and policy — previously housed across five agencies — under one roof. Connecticut was only the second state in the nation to streamline services in this manner, leading to improved programs and greater resources for children.

    The Malloy administration also recognized a need to ensure that children — particularly those from lower-income families — had access to high-quality preschool education.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Created the Office of Early Childhood to unify all early childhood programs into one agency.
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    Funded 2,124 new preschool spaces across the state.
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    Increased Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) enrollment more than any other state becoming first among states in percent of children enrolled in Pre-K.
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    Launched nation’s first Outcomes Rate Card in early childhood rewarding providers for achieving real-world outcomes.

     

    CREATION OF THE OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD

    The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) was created by the Governor’s Executive Order No. 35 in 2013 and with the leadership of Senator Beth Bye, subsequently codified in Public Act 14-39[83] the following year. The creation of the OEC enabled the integration of a variety of human services, including public health, and education programs for young children and their parents. Uniquely, the agency‘s enabling statute explicitly called for OEC to be driven by data, focused on outcomes, and accountable for results. The creation of the office led to new administrative efficiencies and better delivery of services to children and families.

    Elevating early childhood programs positioned Connecticut to attract the growing amount of federal and philanthropic support. On a per capita basis, Connecticut is among the top three states nationally in competing for federal grants, with more than $60 million obtained.

    Joined by students, state officials, and lawmakers, Governor Malloy signs into law legislation establishing the Office of Early Childhood as an official state agency. (May 28, 2014)
    Joined by students, state officials, and lawmakers, Governor Malloy signs into law legislation establishing the Office of Early Childhood as an official state agency. (May 28, 2014)

    Expanded Access to Pre-K

    A cornerstone of the state’s education policy is preparing the state’s youngest learners for school. The state’s Pre-K “School Readiness” program was expanded to serve 1,000 additional preschool children. Additionally, 300 students received higher quality preschool thanks to a federal Preschool Development Grant. The Connecticut Smart Start Program, which expanded preschool opportunities for lower-income children, was established in 2014 and now serves 400 children across 14 school districts with access to high-quality preschool. Thanks in large part to these efforts, Connecticut is second only to Washington D.C. in percent of children enrolled in preschool at 66 percent. In fact, Pre-K enrollment has increased more over the past ten years in Connecticut than in the rest of the nation.[84]

    Improving Chances for Success from Birth to Three

    Eighty percent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first three years of life. High-quality early care and education is a critical factor in a young child’s healthy social, emotional, and intellectual development, all of which have profound implications for life success. Early years are also when working parents are in need of the most assistance but are least likely to receive the support they need. Without access to safe, licensed care, parents find themselves forced to choose unregulated, unlicensed and sometimes unsafe alternatives.

    In response, the state took significant steps to increase family access to affordable infant and toddler care. Public Act 18-84 provided the OEC the ability to invest in care in critical early years, while strengthening protections for young children.

    Taking a Two-Generational Approach

    Recognizing that family success depends in large part on economic security, Connecticut implemented a a Two-Generation (2Gen) approach, focused on creating opportunities for and addressing the needs of both children and adults by providing educational, workforce training, and social supports. This is critical not just in helping to provide a stable income for a family, but also for developing the state’s workforce, and by extension the broader economy, from one generation to the next.

    The state’s 2Gen approach, championed by Senator Marilyn Moore and State Representative Jeff Currey, strove to provide a stable workforce for Connecticut’s economy and economic security for families. To that end, OEC took an enhanced 2Gen approach to its programs, implementing a groundbreaking “rate card” program, in which state government defined a menu of outcomes it wished to “purchase” and the amount it was willing to pay each time that outcome was achieved.

    Through its rate card program, OEC used federal funds and philanthropic support to pay home visitors for achieving key family goals that generate value and savings for Connecticut taxpayers. OEC made bonus payments to providers for each family that achieved the following critical outcomes for family stability and success:

    • Healthy Birth: Avoidance of pre-term birth which presents both immediate long-term risks for children and costs for government.
    • Safe Children: Avoidance of emergency room visits as well as substantiated child-maltreatment which drive childhood trauma, negative health impacts, and child welfare system involvement.
    • Family Stability: For highest risk families, the achievement of key, measurable stability goals including attaining child care, health care (such as treatment for maternal depression), and housing for homeless or unstably housed families.
    • Caregiver employment: Achievement of attaining and maintaining a job or enrolling in and completing proven education or training programs, thereby advancing family economic stability and success while reducing dependence on safety net programs.
    MORE WORK TO DO

    Under the Malloy administration, Connecticut led the nation in advancing Pre-K access. However, there is still much to do to support infants, toddlers and their families. Given the importance of this stage in a child’s development, we must continue support ensuring increased access to quality Pre-K options moving forward, particularly for lower-income families.

    As a newly formed agency, OEC did the hard work of both start-up and merger. They made strides to live up to a new vision — not one focused on a collection of individual programs, but rather one focused on whole family success. This means nurturing and expanding on nascent cross-agency efforts to address both the barriers and enablers of child success. Institutional proof points such as projects to reduce family homelessness and the provision of child care to parents in job-oriented education and training programs should be continued and evaluated for impact. Key structural elements that enable a systematic 2Gen focus should be nurtured, including the continued development of an outcomes division, agency wide 2Gen responsibilities, further integration of core agency programs, and the new 2Gen Innovation Lab in partnership with UConn.

    OEC’s unique mandate is based on the idea that children and families we serve deserve the smartest work and the best possible solutions, and that taxpayers deserve a government that continuously strives to maximize the cost-effectiveness and impact of each public dollar. In order to better live up to that mandate, the agency should continue to build digital and research capacity, and push to ensure all OEC contracts are outcomes-oriented.

     


    83. Public Act 14-39: An Act Establishing the Office of Early Childhood, Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Education and Concerning Dyslexia and Special Education
    84. This is a ten-year measure based on EdWeek analysis of census data; virtually all of increase occurred during Malloy administration. While Connecticut is first among state, the District of Columbia does have a higher enrollment rate.

  • Education

    “Education is the civil rights issue of our time. This is our opportunity. The time is now to transform the status quo. We must provide our children with the opportunities they so richly deserve if we are to revive our state’s economy and lead the country once more.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy testimony at a public hearing of the General Assembly, February 21, 2012

    Guided by the belief that education should have the power to give every person an opportunity to succeed regardless of their unique life circumstances, the Malloy administration implemented significant policy reforms in pursuit of a public education system that prepares students to succeed in college and compete for the jobs of the 21st century. From early childhood through higher education, Connecticut made meaningful and substantial progress to improve public education under Governor Malloy’s leadership.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Improved the graduation rate for seven straight years (after five years of decline), including reaching a record high graduation rate of 87.9 percent in 2017.
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    Targeted hundreds of millions of additional dollars for K-12 education with greater accountability for how those dollars are spent to help more than 200,000 students in Connecticut’s chronically underperforming, highest-need schools.
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    Designed and implemented a nationally recognized Next Generation Accountability System that emphasizes student growth year-to-year, rather than a snapshot of a single year.
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    Closed the black-white graduation gap by 30 percent between 2011 and 2017.
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    Invested $367 million in Commissioner Network and Priority 5 DOJ grants between 2012 and 2018.

     

    TRANSFORMING K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION

    Ensuring that every child in Connecticut had equitable access to a high-quality education was a guiding principle of the Malloy administration. During his two terms, Governor Malloy maintained a strong focus on improving education at every level and supported bold initiatives to help narrow achievement gaps, support teachers and school leaders, and expand opportunity and access to underrepresented and low-income students — leading to the highest graduation rates in Connecticut’s history, as well as record high test scores in reading.

    Enactment of 2012 Omnibus Education Reform Legislation

    In 2012, Governor Malloy championed historic education reform that increased access to early childhood education, established the Commissioner’s Network, a new school turnaround program, created the Alliance District program to deliver new resources and accountability to high-poverty school districts, refined educator support and evaluation, and transformed the state’s educator preparation programs.[85]

    Governor Malloy speaks with children in Middletown at the launch of the Connecticut No Kid Hungry Campaign to help end childhood hunger. (March 23, 2011)
    Governor Malloy speaks with children in Middletown at the launch of the Connecticut No Kid Hungry Campaign to help end childhood hunger. (March 23, 2011)

    Intensive Supports for High-Need Schools and Districts

     New state resources were focused where they are needed most — helping students in Connecticut’s chronically underperforming, highest-need districts and schools. Alliance Districts — defined as the thirty-three lowest performing districts — receive increased funding in exchange for greater accountability for how those dollars are spent. Each Alliance District must submit a plan for approval detailing their district-wide reform efforts to improve student achievement and school culture/climate. In total, Alliance districts are home to 40 percent of students and teachers, and have received more than $678 million in additional state investments since the program began in 2012. As a result of the program:

    • 43 percent of Alliance Districts outpaced statewide year-over-year growth rates on the comprehensive Accountability Index performance metric, based on 2017 data.
    • Graduation rates for schools in Alliance Districts reached 80.5 percent in 2017, up from 71.2 percent in 2011.
    • Results from the 2017 Smarter Balanced Assessments in mathematics showed that half of the state’s Alliance Districts outpaced statewide improvement, as did students who are black, Hispanic, or low-income. More than 50 percent of students continue to meet or exceed the English Language Arts (ELA) standard in all grades. More than 30 percent of districts saw improvement in ELA.
    • A subset of the 10 highest need Alliance Districts, labeled Opportunity Districts, receive even higher and more intensive support through year-round involvement of a designated CSDE team that addresses the highest need strategic priorities in each district.
    • Alliance Districts have benefited from ongoing technical assistance, professional learning events, interdistrict collaboration, and priority participation in state-led district and school improvement efforts.

    Additionally in 2012, Governor Malloy launched the Commissioner’s Network program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to turn around the most chronically low-performing schools in the state. Acceptance into the Commissioner’s Network authorizes intensive school-level interventions and enables the support necessary for dramatically improving student achievement through bold, research-based reforms. It qualifies schools for additional flexibility, autonomy, and resources in exchange for greater accountability to the state. In total, as of 2018 the program had provided support to 22 schools, impacting nearly 50,000 students since its inception. The state invested $367 million through the Commissioner’s Network and Priority School District grants between 2012 and 2018. As a result, 50 percent of Commissioner’s Network schools outpaced statewide year-over-year growth rates on the comprehensive Accountability Index performance metric, based on 2017 data.

    Connecticut Core’ Standards

    The ‘Connecticut Core’ standards are a set of learning expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The state provided critical leadership to school districts as they made the large transition to these new academic standards and accompanying mastery tests. In 2014, Governor Malloy convened the Educators’ Common Core Implementation Task Force to identify challenges and gaps in Common Core preparation, and make recommendations to improve the quality and consistency of its implementation.

    Based on the findings in the report, the state provided targeted support to educators to smooth the implementation, including:

    • More than $45 million to support teachers, districts, and schools transition to the more rigorous college and career-ready standards;
    • $6.3 million to support districts in the College and Career Ready standards implementation, which provided 1,200 days of in-district coaching, professional development for teaching teams to implement the standards with English learners as well as students with special needs; and
    • $11 million in grants were awarded to support districts’ transition to technology-enhanced instruction and assessments.

    Improving Connecticut’s School and District Accountability System

    Connecticut created a nationally recognized 12 part accountability system that focuses on student growth and provides a more holistic picture of how the state is delivering on its promise to children, incorporating indicators such as chronic absenteeism and access to the arts. The Next Generation Accountability System includes measures of student success in arts and fitness, as well as metrics related to college and career-readiness. The system earned national recognition for its emphasis on student academic growth year-to-year, rather than a snapshot of a single year.

    The system allows educators and policymakers to see what is working well in challenging schools where growth is on the rise, and also the ability to identify schools that are not growing at the expected rate. It helps identify what practices should be used in turnaround schools throughout all of Connecticut depending on the challenge. The combination of transparency, engagement, the emphasis on student growth, and the flexibility of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan enabled Connecticut to chart its own course and put emphasis on where the state needs to improve. Connecticut seized the opportunity of ESSA to re-emphasize its pursuit of equitable access to a high-quality education for all students.

    Supporting Educators throughout Their Careers

    A cornerstone of the landmark education reform efforts was to provide better support to teachers. Established as part of the education reform package in 2012, the Educator Preparation Advisory Council, a broadly representative stakeholder group, was tasked with transforming how Connecticut prepares tomorrow’s educators so they are ready for students on day one. In 2013, Connecticut was selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers as one of seven states to participate in the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation. The group developed six guiding principles that would serve as the foundation for recommendations of all major programmatic reforms that followed.

    Additionally, it is equally important that teachers continuing professional learning is relevant, consistent, and meaningful. Prior to the educational reforms in 2012, there was no uniform standard across school districts for evaluating and supporting teacher performance to guide professional development. That’s why, the State Department of Education led the stakeholder-based Performance Evaluation Advisory Council to the consensus adoption of guidelines for educator evaluation and support systems in June 2012. As a result, all educators under the level of a superintendent would be evaluated based on a uniform set of competencies for their respective roles, which in turn inform decisions regarding their ongoing professional development. The system has fostered student-focused professional dialogue among educators and administrators and useful feedback for teachers and administrators.

    K-12 EDUCATION: OTHER INITIATIVES

    Reduced Testing in Connecticut’s Public Schools

     In the fall of 2014, in an effort to eliminate duplicative testing, reduce over-testing, and mitigate student stress, the state sought federal approval to replace the 11th grade state mastery exam with a college entrance exam.

    Connecticut initiated a dialogue with the U.S. Education Department to consider how to reduce the number of high-stakes exams taken by 11th graders. The U.S. Department of Education approved Connecticut’s proposal to administer the SAT to all grade 11 students for federal accountability purposes. Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the SAT replaced the existing state mastery exam and became free for all Connecticut public school students.

    Additionally, in the 2014-2015 school year, the state announced an Assessment Reduction grant program to help districts reduce testing time and analyze their tests to ensure they reflect district priorities, remain aligned to new state standards, provide maximum value to students and educators, and are not redundant. In total, 52 districts were awarded funding through this program.

    Connecticut Early College Opportunity

    Governor Malloy championed innovative programs like Connecticut Early College Opportunity (CT-ECO) to provide students with early access to higher education and skilled job training. The technical skills and workplace skills that students gain from participation in these programs enable them to fill gaps in growth industries such as advanced manufacturing, technology, and health.

    The four to six-year program that offers integrated high school and college coursework, workplace mentorship, and internships. Through CT-ECO students earn both a high school and an industry-recognized, two-year post-secondary degree upon completion. Graduates get preference for job opportunities with the participating industry partners, thus bridging the gap between education and industry for sustainable economic growth.

    Making Schools Safer

    In 2013, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Governor Malloy championed comprehensive legislation focused on gun violence prevention, mental health, and school security issues. Public Act 13-3 required all districts to develop school safety and security plans for each school. Each local or regional board of education must now annually review these plans and update them if necessary. Additionally, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection established school safety and security plan standards for guidance. Institutions of higher education are also required to develop campus security plans, form campus threat assessment teams, and undergo safety audits.[86]

    A School Security Infrastructure Grant Program was established to assist both public and private schools in improving school safety. Since 2013 there have been three rounds of funding awarded. As of June 2018, state and local governments had invested a total of $53 million for security upgrades at 1,200 Connecticut schools and allocated an additional $10 million.

    School Construction

    Connecticut continued its investment in school construction with nearly $4 billion spent in school construction bonds since 2011. This includes more than $1.4 billion invested in renovations and new construction for nearly all of the technical high schools. Overall, these investments constitute about 22 percent of state General Obligation Bonds.

    In an effort to reduce processing time for grant applications and reimbursement payments, the state created a new system to replace the antiquated software used to pay districts. This new system, implemented in October 2018, will improve productivity by reducing grant application processing time by 50 percent and grant reimbursement payments by at least 40 percent. In addition, changes were made in the school construction process. Since 2015, the state has saved $1.3 billion in unnecessary authorizations by reorganizing oversight under the Department of Administrative Services and the School Building Project Advisory Council.

    OUTCOMES

    Graduation rates in Connecticut reached a record high in 2017. The state saw seven straight years of improvement, from 2011 to 2017, with the largest gains coming from traditionally-underperforming districts.

    • Statewide: 87.9 percent (up from 82.7 percent in 2011)
    • Alliance districts: 80.5 percent (up from 71.2 percent in 2011)
    • Connecticut’s graduation rate is significantly higher than the national average of 84.1 percent.

    Connecticut students made significant gains in important measures of the achievement gap:

    • The black-white suspension rate gap closed 14 percent between 2012 and 2017.
    • The Hispanic-white chronic absenteeism gap closed 16 percent between 2012 and 2017.
    • The black-white graduation gap closed 30 percent between 2011 and 2017.
    • The graduation gap among students in an Alliance District and their statewide peers closed 36 percent.

    Connecticut students continued to be among top readers in the nation, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results. According to the results of the 2013 Grade 12 NAEP, Connecticut students outperformed all states in reading and were among the top-performing states in mathematics. From 2011 to 2017, fourth graders showed significant progress in reducing the achievement gap in reading, with the gap between economically disadvantaged students and their non-disadvantaged peers narrowing in Grade 4 reading. Hispanic students also closed the achievement gap by 29 percent during the same period.

    According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Connecticut ranked third in the nation for college readiness and educational attainment, and for highest AP exam scores in 2015. More than 30,000 students took more than 55,000 Advanced Placement (AP) exams in the 2017-2018 school year — an increase of 30.3 percent from 2011-2012. Importantly, traditionally underrepresented students are taking more AP exams than ever before.

    From the 2009-2010 school year to the 2016-2017 school year, the total number of students receiving at least one suspension or expulsion has been reduced by 28 percent. And, the number of chronically absent students in 2016-2017 is down over 1.6 percent from the 2012-2013 school year, indicating that more than 8,000 more students are attending school regularly than five years ago. 

    MORE WORK TO DO

    Investments in education are a down payment on the state’s future. The state must ensure that all students, regardless of the life circumstances into which they are born, regardless of what town or city they live in, are able to receive a high-quality public education. In order to continue to close persistent achievement gaps, the state must continue directing targeted investments toward the highest need students and districts.

    Connecticut boasts some of the strongest readers in the nation. At the same time, like most states across the nation, Connecticut needs to focus on math skills. This will be critical to ensuring Connecticut’s students have the knowledge and skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs. Furthermore, the state should place more emphasis on dual track programs that allow high school students to pursue higher education opportunities while in high school.

    Of critical concern, special education costs remain unpredictable for school districts. A Special Education Cost Model Task Force was established in Public Act 17-2 of the June Special Session with its final report is due in 2019. This report will make recommendations to provide predictability to school districts and open the door to sharing best practices on special education operation, and will include a feasibility study of the use of a captive insurance or alternative model(s) to fund special education services.

    To support educators, the state should continue to find ways to streamline the teacher certification process in Connecticut. This includes removing overly burdensome statutory and regulatory requirements for teachers coming in from out of state, while working to increase both homegrown and out of state minority teacher recruitment efforts at the state’s traditional educator preparation programs, as well as alternative route to certification programs.

    As enrollment in many school districts is declining, districts should be encouraged to collaborate through shared services. Connecticut has some provisions in place to incentivize regional and co-operative school districts, including a 5 percent school construction bonus, but more can be done.

    Connecticut has worked hard to break down the barriers to learning faced by children of color and those who experience poverty. One of the state’s great successes has been to sever the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing unnecessary and unwarranted suspensions and removal from the classroom. While concerns about the safety of all students and teachers, and the need for robust interventions for children who are removed, are legitimate, efforts to address them must not discriminate against the students who need the most help and can benefit the most from more time in the classroom. That is why, after vetoing a bill that would have made it too easy to remove students from a classroom and too hard for them to come back, Governor Malloy directed the State Department of Education to convene a working group on classroom safety that will create a balanced policy to address legitimate safety and discipline concerns.[87]  The working group will aim to craft a policy that makes sure students with greater needs, including black and Hispanic children and students with disabilities, are not discriminated against or disproportionately removed from classroom, get the appropriate help if they are removed, and can return to the classroom as soon as possible. As of fall 2018, the working group has met three times and is expected to produce a report with recommendations.

     


    85. Public Act 12-116: An Act Concerning Educational Reform
    86. Public Act 13-3: An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety
    87. Public Act 18-89: An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior

  • Housing

    “In the spirit of Dr. King, and to ensure we continue making progress in the months and years ahead, our state cannot turn a blind eye to the barriers that exist in our society. Access to opportunity through decent, safe, affordable housing should not be a politicized issue — it is a fundamental human right.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, April 11, 2018

    Investments in affordable housing and efforts to prevent and end homelessness ranked consistently among Governor Malloy’s highest priorities. Under his leadership, the state made an unprecedented investment in the preservation, rehabilitation, and creation of affordable housing — surpassing the efforts of the previous three administrations combined.

    To support and implement his vision for vibrant and affordable communities, Governor Malloy spearheaded the creation of the Department of Housing (DOH) as a standalone agency in 2012. With DOH in place, the state played an active role in increasing the stock of affordable housing across Connecticut and ending homelessness, modernized systems that languished for decades, and led a new conversation about zoning reform that provided greater access to housing choice and opportunity for all of Connecticut’s residents. Because of this work, Connecticut is recognized as a national leader for efforts and success in preventing and ending homelessness and for the development of affordable housing.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Invested $1.42 billion in housing, matched by an additional $2.45 billion of investment from other financial sources, including the private sector.
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    Committed to fund, preserve, rehabilitate or create 24,332 units of housing, of which approximately 22,000 are affordable.
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    Led the country in preventing and ending homelessness, becoming the first state in the nation to end chronic veteran homelessness and one of only three states to effectively end veteran homelessness.
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    Matched all individuals with a disability who have been homeless for a period of at least one year or had four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years with housing, effectively ending chronic homelessness.

     

    INVESTING IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING

    Affordable housing is a key economic development tool which can grow a town’s tax base, attract businesses to communities, and improve the statewide economy. Most importantly, it is the first step for individuals and families to achieve stability.

    The development of affordable housing creates a pipeline of new jobs for Connecticut communities beyond that of the initial construction period. As the population increases, so do the needs for goods and services. Businesses providing those goods and services grow and further attract employers, who know they will have a strong workforce of people at all income levels, because of the opportunity for housing choice at all price points. All of this economic activity contributes to the growth of the local tax base as well as to economic growth throughout Connecticut.

    Connecticut is now a housing-first state, meaning the state prioritized access to affordable housing as the first step for individuals and families to achieve stability. Expanding affordable housing options in all of Connecticut’s municipalities provides individuals and families with access to better schools, jobs, and services. With access to affordable housing, individuals and families have the opportunity to rise out of poverty and become productive, contributing members in their new communities. Access to affordable housing is important to attract and keep young professionals, young families, senior members of our state who have called Connecticut home for decades, and to support our most vulnerable residents.

    With the newly formed Department of Housing in place, the state was able to expedite projects, create cost-saving efficiencies, and better coordinate all housing programs. DOH created a predictable and transparent annual funding schedule of rolling and competitive funding rounds. Additionally, the state dramatically expanded outreach to attract new developers, engage directly with local elected officials, and increased opportunities for developers to pursue innovative housing developments.

    Together with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, these efforts led to the creation and preservation of nearly 22,000 affordable homes statewide. In total, the state invested $1.42 billion in affordable housing, leveraging an additional $2.45 billion in total investment from public and private sources, totaling $3.87 billion in direct economic impact. This unprecedented level of investment outpaced the previous three administrations combined.

    ENDING HOMELESSNESS

    Homelessness is a metric by which a state can measure how well it is taking care of its most vulnerable populations. It should be the goal of all local, state, and federal governments to put an end to homelessness while protecting people’s right to safe, affordable housing. A home provides an individual with a stable foundation to earn a living, feel secure, and to make a meaningful contribution to their communities. Connecticut led the nation in reducing homelessness and increasing access to affordable housing during this administration.

    In August 2015[88], Connecticut became the first state in the nation to eliminate chronic homelessness among veterans. Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual with a disability who has been homeless for a period of at least one year or has had four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years. Through a partnership of local, state, and federal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations, Connecticut created a system that works to prevent homelessness among veterans and ensures when there is a new episode of homelessness, it is brief and nonrecurring.

    In February 2016[89], the federal government certified Connecticut as one of only three states to effectively end veteran homelessness altogether. At the time of this remarkable achievement on behalf of those who have served our country, First Lady Michelle Obama wrote to Governor Malloy, "As we discussed at the President's State of the Union Address, I want to thank you and the people of Connecticut for your determined efforts on behalf of our military families. I am so proud of your state's commitment and resolve to reach this milestone, and I am grateful for all you have done for America's heroes."

    Connecticut became a national leader in reforming the homeless response system to focus on ending homelessness, rather than simply managing it. In 2014, eight Coordinated Access Networks (CANs) were formed which include housing providers, agencies (governmental and non-governmental), advocates, and community service organizations that joined together to coordinate this new homeless response system. Partnering with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the United Way of Connecticut, the administration also established a coordinated entry system. Other innovations included the use of diversion efforts to prevent individuals and families from needlessly entering the homeless system, a shared Homeless Management Information System which tracks progress of homeless individuals and families, and the appointment of a Youth Services Director who is tasked with leading the state’s effort to end youth homelessness by 2020.

    Adults Experiencing Chronic Homelessness

    The 2018 “Point-in-Time” count conducted by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness found that homelessness in Connecticut had decreased for a fifth consecutive year and was at its lowest level to date. The total homeless population decreased by 25 percent since 2007 with the most progress made from 2013 to 2018.[90]

    Between 2011 and 2018, the state saw a decrease of 17.3 percent in family homelessness. In 2015, the Department along with CCEH conducted a first-of-its-kind youth count to measure progress and ensure the state is meeting its goal to eliminate youth and family homelessness by 2020.

    Recognizing the progress Connecticut made in preventing and ending homelessness, the federal government awarded Connecticut $272.3 million dollars in grant funds from 2013 to 2018 to help the state continue its efforts.

    INNOVATIVE HOUSING POLICY

    Housing experts have identified the affordable housing need in Connecticut as approximately 74,000 units, which includes units for low income individuals and families, as well as units for moderate income individuals and families. The greatest need is in Fairfield County. These numbers are high because, for decades, affordable housing production was funded almost solely by the state with limited federal funds. It has only been during times of state investment coupled with federal funding when Connecticut has seen families in need have meaningful access to affordable housing. That is why Governor Malloy committed a historic level of investment in the preservation, rehabilitation, and creation of affordable housing.

    With these investments, the state incentivized forward thinking housing policy, including: mixed-income, non-age restricted affordable housing; effective use of Section 8 vouchers to end homelessness; use of State Rental Assistance program certificates to end veteran homelessness; energy-efficient design and cost controls; transit-oriented development to revitalize communities; capital improvements to homeless shelters to better accommodate families and transgender individuals; rapid re-housing; and supportive housing for homeless youth.

    Supportive Housing

    Supportive housing is an important tool in reducing homelessness among individuals who are diagnosed with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. As an early adopter of this model, Connecticut had great success in creating an effective and coordinated housing system that includes the development of new supportive housing units, funding for rental and service subsidies for scattered site supportive housing, and the creation of a statewide Coordinated Access Network that provides standardized access to housing and homeless services and the development of universal protocols and assessment tools. In addition to providing state resources to address homelessness in Connecticut, DOH was successful in securing numerous federal grants, totaling $272.3 million in new funding.

    The Interagency Committee on Supportive Housing and Homelessness (ICSHH) — the administrative body that coordinates the state’s permanent supportive housing initiatives for individuals and families with special needs who are homeless or at risk of homelessness — created nearly 2,400 units of supportive housing between 2011 and 2018. Through this collaborative, and with the unprecedented funding support from the state, Connecticut was able to adopt innovative supportive housing models to target individuals facing complex housing issues, including:

    • The Connecticut Collaborative on Re-Entry (CCR) which provides rental subsidies and wrap-around services targeted to a small set of individuals with high recidivism rates resulting from complex unmet needs, histories of long-term homelessness, chronic health conditions, and untreated mental illness and addiction. As of June 2018, the state had supported a total of 160 units.
    • The Homelessness Prevention and Response Fund which invests capital dollars that provides forgivable loans and grants to landlords to renovate multifamily homes in exchange for their participation in supportive housing or rapid re-housing. As of June 2018, the state had supported 150 units.
    • As of June 2018, the state had supported 50 units through the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder Housing (IDASH) program to provide permanent supportive housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities or for individuals on the state’s autism waiver.
    • The Housing for Homeless Youth program which creates non-time-limited supportive housing for young adults, ages 28 to 24, who are experiencing homelessness. As of June 2018, the state had committed a total of $30 million towards these efforts.

    Map of Distribution of People of Color and Opportunity in Connecticut

    Connecticut developed a robust, coordinated housing network in which state agencies, the state’s housing finance authority, and other housing providers have worked together to identify the unmet housing needs of our residents and deliver much-needed supportive housing services and rental subsidies. To build on this well-established model, as of 2018, the state was exploring ways to streamline the support services provided to clients in order to provide higher quality interventions and services, while creating efficiencies and reducing costs at the state level. Specifically, Connecticut applied for and was one of only eight states chosen to participate in a competitive Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) to receive technical assistance in order to develop a supportive housing service array target-ed to Medicaid beneficiaries that are high utilizers of health care services and have certain unmet housing needs.

    PRIORITIZING FAIR HOUSING

    The statistics related to fair housing and segregation in the state of Connecticut are stark: sixty-seven percent of the state’s population of color lives in just eight percent of Connecticut’s towns.[91]  In other words, two of every three persons of color live in just fifteen of the state’s 169 municipalities.

    Beginning in September 2017, the Commissioner of Housing and State Representative Roland Lemar convened the Fair Housing Working Group to discuss and address the most difficult and pressing fair housing issues states face today — how to address a history of segregation, and the governmental policies that promoted it, including redlining, placement of public and subsidized housing, and restrictive or exclusionary zoning.

    Connecticut Zoning Initiative

    Drawing on an analysis of Connecticut’s zoning regulations in all 169 municipalities, it was clear to the Fair Housing Working Group that more needed to be done to promote affordable housing development. Many of the state’s antiquated local zoning laws run in stark contrast to promoting inclusivity and fairness. When it comes to the development of multifamily housing, the kind of housing that is most likely to be affordable, research shows that only 20 municipalities allow multifamily housing by right. Another 122 municipalities only allow multifamily housing development with a special permit—which can involve a complex approval process that can deter this kind of development. A total of 25 municipalities do not have ordinances that allow for multifamily housing development and two municipalities do not appear to have any local zoning ordinances at all.

    Following the workgroup’s recommendations to promote housing choice and ensure local accountability, Governor Malloy proposed legislation during the 2018 session to modernize the zoning statutes and implement an enforcement mechanism to ensure towns meet their housing-related obligations under current zoning law.[92]

    SUPERSTORM SANDY RECOVERY

    Recovery

    In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Malloy fought for federal aid for the State of Connecticut. Ultimately, the state was awarded $159 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program to address the diverse unmet needs of individuals and families, property owners, municipalities and state agencies impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Further, the funding covered planning activities to assist in the processes associated with improving resiliency of infrastructure and public facilities, particularly in the most impacted counties of Fairfield and New Haven.

    The DOH successfully developed and administered this program to aid homeowners, property owners and municipalities to repair, elevate, and plan to make more resilient homes or infrastructure. Under the program, the state:

    • Assisted more than 200 households with design services for rebuilding and repairs;
    • Elevated more than 100 homes above the flood plain, making them more resilient against future flooding events;
    • Reimbursed more than 180 households for expenses incurred repairing their damaged homes; and
    • Provided $36.7 million in grants to 11 municipalities impacted by Superstorm Sandy to investigate projects that will repair, rebuild, and mitigate critical infrastructure systems and prepare them for future storms.

    The state met all federal requirements established by HUD for the Sandy Recovery Program and was praised by HUD and FEMA for its highly successful implementation.

    Resiliency

    Governor Malloy was committed not just to Connecticut’s recovery, but also to ensuring Connecticut’s resiliency as climate change produces more severe storms. In 2017 Governor Malloy joined with 16 other states to form the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition dedicated to upholding the standards set by the Paris Agreement despite the United States’ withdrawal. The states which make up the U.S. Climate Alliance have pledged to curb climate change and meet the accords of the Paris Agreement by 2025.

    In 2014, Connecticut was awarded $10 million through HUD’s post-Sandy Rebuild by Design (RBD) competition for the Resilient Bridgeport project. This was one of seven projects awarded funding alongside Hoboken, Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and others in New York and New Jersey.

    Additionally, in January 2016[93], the state was awarded $54.3 million through the post-Sandy National Disaster Resilience (NDR) competition for the continuation of Resilient Bridgeport, the Connecticut Coastal Connections regional resilience plan, and the State Agencies Foster Resilience (SAFR) Council. Connecticut’s application was the highest ranked submission to HUD and one of only 13 projects awarded funding alongside New York City, Norfolk, New Orleans, and others. [For more on recovery and resiliency please see the Improving Resiliency and Disaster Relief chapter on page 197]

    CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS

    Since first learning about the issue of crumbling foundations potentially affecting upwards of 35,000 homeowners in eastern Connecticut, Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and their executive agencies worked actively with the Connecticut Attorney General, the Connecticut General Assembly, and federal partners to bring relief to affected homeowners and to assess the safety of public projects.

    Upon learning of the problem, the Governor requested that Lieutenant Governor Wyman personally oversee the state’s involvement. He also requested that the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Protection conduct an investigation of the Crumbling Foundations issue under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices (CUTPA) Act. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to commence any action.

    However, Governor Malloy requested support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ultimately resulting in establishing a technical assistance group consisting of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to lend technical assistance.

    To provide relief to homeowners, the state:

    • Noticed insurers that they cannot cancel or non-renew a homeowners policy due to a crumbling foundation;
    • Directed insurers to disclose to homeowners the contractual limitation period for pursuing a lawsuit in the event a property loss is denied;
    • Provided property tax relief to affected homeowners and safeguarded affected homeowner’s complaints from Freedom of Information Requests;
    • Provided $5 million, and set-aside another $1 million from the federal government, for a testing reimbursement program to help the state better understand the scope of the problem;
    • Created a captive insurance company for crumbling foundations to provide financial assistance to repair and/or replace eligible crumbling foundations and provided $100 million in bonding authorizations between Fiscal Years 2018 – 2022[94]; and
    • Established a Collapsing Foundations Credit Enhancement Program, administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority to develop financial products, such as low interest loans and loan guarantees to help homeowners cover remaining costs after receiving aid from the captive insurance company.
    MORE WORK TO DO

    While the state has made much progress, there is still work to be done to reduce any form of homelessness and to limit the amount of time any person spends without shelter and in a place of instability. The state must also increase access to affordable housing. Affordable housing remains key to the individuals and families who call Connecticut home, and it is critical to Connecticut’s economic recovery and growth that future administrations remain committed to prioritizing it.

    Even with the historic level of investment from the Malloy administration, housing experts still estimate the need for tens of thousands of additional units of affordable housing across the state. The state must continue to expand affordable housing programs and invest in the preservation, rehabilitation, and creation of affordable housing in all communities.

    As Connecticut continues to face the impacts of a history of segregation, the state must prioritize fair housing policies like inclusionary zoning and collaborate with local and state leaders to remove barriers to housing opportunity statewide. The stakes are high — it is clear housing opportunities are key to educational opportunities and success as well. The impact of segregated housing on education, by demographics and socioeconomic status, is indisputable. As the state continues to work to improve educational opportunities, fair housing policies must be part of the solution.

    The state should continue its progress in ending homelessness by achieving the goals of ending youth and family homelessness by 2020. Continuing to fund the statewide Coordinated Access Network system is also crucial to meeting and maintaining these goals.

    Connecticut is in the process of developing an array of supportive housing services targeted to Medicaid beneficiaries that are high utilizers of health care services and have certain unmet housing needs. Once developed, a state plan amendment will need to be submitted for these new services to be eligible for federal reimbursement under Medicaid.

    To continue the progress the state has made, the next administration should continue to support and fund a standalone Department of Housing.

     


    88. Governor Malloy Press Release, August 28, 2015: “Gov. Malloy Announces that Connecticut is First State in America to End Chronic Veteran Homelessness.”
    89. Governor Malloy Press Release, February 18, 2016: “Gov. Malloy Announces Connecticut Receives Federal Certification of Effectively Eliminating Veteran Homelessness.”
    90. Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness 2018 Connecticut Statewide Report
    91. Connecticut Fair Housing Center: Presentation to Fair Housing Work Group, “Segregation in Connecticut, How did we get here?” October 18, 2017
    92. HB 5045: An Act Establishing Accountability for Fair and Affordable Housing Through Zoning Regulations
    93. Governor Malloy Press Release, January 22, 2016: “Gov. Malloy, Congressional Delegation Announce $54 Million Federal Grant for Storm Resiliency in Connecticut.”
    94. Public Act 17-2: An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2019, Making Appropriations Therefor, Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State and Implementing Provisions of the Budget, Sections 334-348

  • Making Connecticut Healthier

    “The number of uninsured people living in Connecticut has been cut in half from over eight percent to under four percent. Because of the Affordable Care Act, half a million people in Connecticut have gained health coverage that they previously did not have access to, and in return, greater access to the care and advice they need to live healthy, productive lives. Our state has been a national leader in health and human services, especially the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and we want to continue to make gains that support public health care and economic security.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, March 23, 2017

    Governor Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Wyman were champions for access to affordable health care and making Connecticut a healthier place to live, work, and play. Under their leadership, Connecticut expanded access to and improved the quality of health care. At the same time, the state took steps to also significantly control the cost of care.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Successfully implemented the Affordable Care Act (ACA) thereby reducing the state’s uninsured population to an all-time low of 3.8%.
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    Established Access Health CT, the most successful state-sponsored health insurance exchange.
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    Successfully implemented expanded Medicaid coverage, with largest increase in coverage for childless adults, resulting in an additional 240,000 covered under Medicaid.
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    Provided access to more health care services than ever before under Medicaid, including new family planning services, tobacco cessation, and services for children with autism spectrum disorder.
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    Rebalanced long-term services and supports by transitioning over 4,700 people out of nursing homes and into more appropriate community-based care.
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    Implemented comprehensive, proven actions to combat the opioid crisis and was nationally recognized for these efforts.
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    Created a universal childhood vaccine program, which resulted in a drop of instances of whooping cough by 31% and chicken pox by 65%.

     

    EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE

    Access Health CT

     Connecticut led the nation in implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the creation of Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange. The state executed one of the first federal Health Insurance Exchange planning grants, and in 2011 established the Exchange as a quasi-public agency.[95]

    Upon taking office, Governor Malloy asked Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, a health care policy leader, to lead the state’s efforts to implement the ACA. As chair of the Access Health CT Board of Directors, Connecticut was one of the first states to develop a state-based Health Insurance Exchange with its launch in October 2013. It was widely regarded as the most successful in the nation at that time.

    Access Health CT helps eligible consumers to obtain tax credits that defray the cost of health insurance. With persistent outreach and personal assistance for applicants, Access Health CT helped cut the state’s uninsured rate by half — to 3.8 percent in 2017. Despite numerous efforts by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration to repeal and undermine the ACA, the 2017 open enrollment surpassed all expectations. 114,134 Connecticut residents signed up for private health insurance through Access Health CT — a 2.3 percent increase from 2016. In addition, Access Health CT helped tens of thousands of Connecticut residents with Medicaid enrollment.

    Connecticut consistently defended the ACA and fought against Republican attempts to repeal the ACA and jeopardize the health insurance of tens of thousands of Connecticut’s residents. After these attempts to strip health care coverage from millions failed, the Malloy administration called on all parties to come together to stabilize the health insurance market and make improvements to the health care system to benefit all Americans.

    In 2018, Access Health CT took significant steps to ensure Connecticut residents would have more affordable health plan options in 2019 by adding ACA compliant health insurance plans that offer enhanced product designs and network options. The state also prevented further destabilization by installing safeguards against the Trump administration’s attempts to create short-term and association health plans that provide substandard care and fail to cover even the most essential health care needs.

    Consumer Safeguards

    Connecticut became the first state in the nation with a “network adequacy” bill in 2016. It gives the Insurance Department enhanced oversight of health insurance networks in the state ensuring that consumers have access to robust networks of doctors and specialists in their area.[96]

    The state fostered an environment that allowed health insurers to offer new products that gave consumers more choices and improved competition. For the first time, dental-only HMOs are offering consumers another dental coverage option. In 2015, the Insurance Department secured authority to review small employer group health insurance rate. Also, traditional HMOs are now allowed to create products that use coinsurance — a change that will allow more products in the market and more options for consumers.

    Medicaid Expansion

    Connecticut was also the first state in the nation to take advantage of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion option. In June of 2010, the state gained approval from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage bringing on an estimated 45,000 low-income adults who had been previously enrolled in a more limited health benefit package under the State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) program. Connecticut also significantly expanded Medicaid coverage again in 2014 to include low income adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Because of these expansions, approximately 240,000 low-income adults now have coverage and access to Medicaid benefits under HUSKY D, with more than 90 percent of the costs covered by the federal government.

    Moreover, expanded Medicaid provides comprehensive preventive medical, dental and behavioral health benefits to all members and covers more health care services than ever before, including new family planning services, tobacco cessation, services for children with autism spectrum disorder and services and supports for people who are transgender.

    Redesigned Medicaid

    In contrast to the majority of states, Connecticut moved away from capitated managed care contracts to a self-insured, managed fee-for-service model and launched the new HUSKY Health program on January 1, 2012. This self-insured model has been incredibly successful, leading to improved client care experiences, quality of service, supports for providers, and overall cost-effectiveness. It provides centralized, standardized, and streamlined guidance and support for both members and providers, all while reducing administrative costs. Further, it enabled the Department of Social Services to collect a fully integrated statewide set of claims data for the more than 800,000 members of the program. HUSKY Health has utilized this data to identify and provide care coordination to members with complex needs, to equip providers to better support their patients, and to direct policy-making, program development and operations. The program has also made targeted investments in rate increases and practice coaching that increased the participation of primary care providers from 1,622 in January 2012 to 3,454 in July 2018, and implemented value-based payment arrangements focused on primary care and obstetrics. These efforts have improved health outcomes and care experience while controlling costs. Lastly, by emphasizing primary and preventive care, increasing payment for improving birth outcomes, and annual screening of children and teens for developmental and behavioral conditions, HUSKY Health is making substantial investment in Connecticut’s future generations.

    Rebalanced Long-Term Services and Supports

    Since 2011, Connecticut moved more than 4,700 individuals from nursing homes to community based care and prevented the institutionalization of many others. A broad range of home and community-based services enabled the transformation of Connecticut’s long-term services and supports, including expanding the Money Follows the Person program.

    Other initiatives which contributed to the rebalancing care from institutions to communities, include: the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service’s (DMHAS) management of the Mental Health Waiver which encompassed services designed to support successful community placements. DMHAS’ Nursing Home Diversion program which strengthened the home care workforce by increasing pay for personal care attendants in self-directed waiver programs to $14.75 per hour; reducing the cost of medication administration which allowed more individuals to choose home-based care over institutional care. These changes created adult family living opportunities; capital funding to allow nursing homes to diversify their businesses; enhanced transparency in nursing home finances; required nursing homes to notify residents and the state of expected Medicaid eligibility, and provide community living assessments and care plan development. In addition to these initiatives, DMHAS has realigned older adult services to create a statewide Senior Outreach and Engagement Program. This program complements existing programs which divert older adults from long term care and develop home and community-based services to assist older adults who “age in place.”

    Independent Practice for Nurse Practitioners

    Every state in America is facing a shortage of primary care providers. Other states’ experiences and data indicated that implementing full practice authority for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) could help reduce costs, streamline care, protect patient choice, and lead to comparable or higher patient satisfaction scores than those of physicians. In 2014, Connecticut established a pathway to independent practice for APRNs to increase access to primary care for Connecticut residents.[97]

    ADDRESSING THE OPIOID CRISIS

    From 1999 to 2016, more than 350,000 people in the United States died from an overdose involving an opioid. In 2016, two-thirds of total drug overdose deaths involved an opioid. In Connecticut, there were 2.2 million opioid prescriptions in 2017 alone — however, this is a decrease from 2.6 million in both 2014 and 2015.

    In April 2018, Connecticut was one of only thirteen states, to receive the National Safety Council’s highest mark of “Improving,” indicating that the state had implemented comprehensive, proven actions to eliminate opioid overdoses and protect its residents. While the crisis of opioid abuse is far from over, Connecticut put the tools in place to address both the opioid crisis, and to respond quickly to any future prescription drug abuse emergencies.

    The state was awarded more than $30 million by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address the opioid crisis by expanding the use of the medication and recovery coaching to treat opioid use disorders, and increasing prevention, treatment, and recovery supports. As a result, substance abuse treatment agencies in 11 cities and towns in Connecticut now offer buprenorphine and naltrexone to people seeking help from opioid addiction. Additionally, the funds support the use of medication for discharged inmates, plus supply Narcan to parole officers and purchase/provide training on the use of Narcan to numerous groups and various locations statewide. Also, the state was also awarded more than $10 million in Partnership for Success (PFS) and Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF Rx) to support opioid prevention work.

    Preventing Overdose Deaths

    The state expanded access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, to first responders, family, friends, and for those struggling with addiction themselves to prevent overdose deaths. In 2014, Governor Malloy directed the Connecticut State Police to universally carry naloxone in their cruisers. This policy alone saved more than 230 lives between October 2014 and June 2018. Municipalities were required to update their emergency medical service plans to ensure that certain first responders were equipped and trained to administer naloxone. Stakeholders across the state are working to deploy naloxone to higher risk populations.

    The administration also prioritized increasing accessibility and affordability of naloxone to individuals. Consensus-driven legislation passed to allow pharmacists to prescribe naloxone and to permit the prescription of overdose reversal drugs to individuals other than the direct user, enabling family and friends to take steps to protect their loved ones.

    Strengthening Prevention Tools for Providers and Consumers

    Public Act 15-198, An Act Concerning Substance Abuse and Opioid Prevention[98] increased practitioner awareness through required continuing education on proper pain management and controlled substance prescriptions. It also greatly enhanced the effectiveness of Connecticut’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP) by requiring practitioners, or their authorized delegates, to check the PMP prior to prescribing certain controlled substances. In addition, the PMP was strengthened further by requiring data to be uploaded by pharmacists each business day, rather than weekly. Together, these two provisions ensure that practitioners have comprehensive, accurate data so they can make informed treatment decisions. Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse built on this progress by requiring that certain high-risk drugs be electronically prescribed, making it more difficult to forge prescriptions.[99]

    Six in ten people who are prescribed opioid painkillers expect to have leftover medication. Governor Malloy championed legislation to help facilitate the destruction of unused prescription drugs. The administration also worked with private partners to spearhead a public awareness campaign to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused medications, limiting their accessibility for misuse. Moreover, Connecticut established prescription length limits for opioid drugs for adults and minors, with certain exceptions, and requires prescribers to discuss the risks of such prescriptions with patients.[100]

    Additionally, a voluntary non-opioid directive now exists to give patients the ability to formally tell their practitioners they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs. While this directive is voluntary and can be revoked by a patient or their health care proxy at any time, it is another tool that can be used to prevent opioid addiction or help a person in recovery communicate their needs to their health care provider.[101]

    In November 2017, the State launched its first web-based real-time bed availability system for the public, which tracks DMHAS-funded detox, residential addiction treatment and recovery house availability. Programs enter the number of beds available each day and sometimes multiple times per day to keep the public informed and to increase access to services.

    Enhancing Access to Treatment

    Other efforts to combat the opioid crisis include:

    • The publication of information online by the Department of Public Health (DPH) about how prescribers can obtain certification for suboxone and other medicines to treat opioid use disorder.
    • The requirement that individual and group health insurers cover medically necessary detox treatment, as defined by American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria.
    • The addition of the MAT locator to the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (BHP) website to help residents find treatment.
    • The BHP also implemented Project ECHO, which provides telehealth consultation and education services to qualified Medicaid Program providers who are interested in expanding their knowledge, confidence, and utilization of MAT for Opioid Use Disorders. A primary goal of the program is to expand access to and utilization of MAT, particularly buprenorphine, through the provision of education and support of Data 2000, waived providers who are operating well below the prescribing capacity are allowed under the waiver.
    IMPROVED QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE

    Enhanced Primary Health Care

    In 2014, the state was awarded a $45 million competitive federal grant to transform its health care system by improving outcomes and quality, improving access to care, reducing health inequities, and reducing health care costs. Through a federally sponsored initiative known as the State Innovation Model (SIM), the state brought healthcare payers, including Medicaid and commercial payers, employers, providers, and consumers together to begin implementing outcomes based on, value-based care where outcomes and care experience are tied to payment. For example, the Patient Centered Medical Home+ program, Connecticut’s Medicaid first shared savings program, improves outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries of participating community health centers and advanced networks through data sharing, improved coordination, and community linkage.

    Improved Quality of Health Care

    In partnership with three Administrative Services Organizations, the state’s Medicaid program has implemented a range of care delivery interventions that have dramatically increased use of preventive care, reduced non-urgent use of hospital emergency rooms and inpatient care, reduced hospital re-admissions, and yielded improvements in measures related to many common health conditions such as diabetes and asthma. These interventions recognize that a one-size-fits-all disease management approach is inadequate, and that an array of supports is needed to address the wide range of patient needs. Reforms have included Intensive Care Management through expanded care teams that include community health workers, coordination with hospital discharge processes, transformation of primary care practices under the Person Centered Medical Home initiative, and integration of behavioral health and medical care through health homes. The program has also regularly assessed the care experience of its members and has documented that members have better access to care and feel more respected by their providers.

    Behavioral Health

    The state implemented a behavioral health in-home effort in which local mental health authorities and their affiliates integrated behavioral health, primary care, and community-based supports for people with serious and persistent mental illness. The administration also expanded use of Assertive Community Treatment teams, an evidence-based practice that offers treatment, rehabilitation, and support services, using a person-centered, recovery-based approach to individuals that have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness. To enhance access to quality behavioral health providers, Connecticut increased Medicaid rates for mental health providers in Fiscal Year 2015.

    Public Act 13-3[102] and Public Act 15-5[103] also increased access to behavioral health treatment. Among other things, the laws updated standards for utilization review and clarified health insurers’ responsibilities relating to behavioral health utilization review — a result of the 2015 Behavioral Health Working Group convened by the Insurance Commissioner.

    Overall, DMHAS obtained more than $90 million in federal discretionary grants between 2011 and 2018 to support behavioral health services including helping individuals with serious mental illness to secure employment and provide integrated mental health, substance abuse, and primary care to more than 2,200 individuals in three urban hubs.

    Family Planning

    Reproductive health care was expanded through the implementation of innovative Medicaid policies. A family planning coverage group for individuals of childbearing age who are not otherwise eligible for full Medicaid coverage became available in 2012. Also, obstetrical pay-for-performance programs were instituted to improve care for pregnant women and the outcomes for their newborns. Finally, Medicaid reimbursement rates for long-acting reversible contraceptives were increased to ensure continued access while new devices have been added when they became available.

    In 2017, to ensure Medicaid coverage of family planning services if the federal government defunds Planned Parenthood, Public Act 17-2, June special session, was enacted. Any family planning clinic that meets DSS’ requirements for participation in the Medicaid program, but is restricted from receiving federal Medicaid funding, may now continue to receive state-only funding provided the General Assembly approves.

    In addition, the Governor signed Public Act 18-10 which ensures that regardless of actions taken by the federal government, Connecticut will preserve access to coverage of women’s preventive health services provided by the Affordable Care Act.  For certain health carriers the state regulates, these benefits include well-woman visits, STD testing, breast cancer screening, domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, and FDA-approved contraceptive drugs.

    Urgent Care

    The sudden rise of urgent care centers prompted new licensure in 2017 of urgent care centers.[104]  The 2017 legislation promotes public health and enables the Department of Social Services to emulate Utah’s “Safe to Wait” project, which reduced repeat non-emergent emergency department visits by Medicaid beneficiaries. It provides with information and education on alternatives to the emergency department, connects Medicaid beneficiaries to primary care, and shares a list of urgent care clinics throughout the state.

    Medical Marijuana Program

    In 2012, the state created Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) to help patients with debilitating conditions by giving them access to marijuana as a medication.[105]  The goal of the program was to create a new pharmaceutical marketplace so that patients, for whom traditional medications were not working, would have an alternative that research indicates is helpful in treating certain conditions. The law and regulations, limit the number of businesses that can sell marijuana and place restrictions on advertising so that the product is not marketed in a way that encourages recreational use.

    Consistent with the program’s mission, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) has instituted a true medical model to ensure Connecticut patients are receiving quality care and product. Marijuana producers are regulated like manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, all products must be laboratory tested and labelled, and dispensaries are regulated like pharmacies. Also, DCP has approved research programs designed to increase knowledge on the medical uses of marijuana and to offer prescribers and patients the best possible information when choosing treatment plans.

    As of October 2018, the 6-year-old program had 977 participating prescribers, four producers, and nine dispensaries, employing more than 450 people that serve almost 28,000 patients.  In 2016, the program was expanded to include minors with certain high need medical conditions. The state is looking to add additional dispensary facilities.

    Established the Office of Health Strategy

    Lieutenant Governor Wyman created the Office of Health Strategy (OHS) in 2018 to enhance coordination of the state’s health care reform strategies, including a coordinated response to the Trump administration’s proposed changes. Combining the state’s major health care planning and reform initiatives into one office prevents the duplication of efforts, the waste of resources, and streamlines efforts to improve access to quality health care services while reducing costs. The new Office of Health Strategy consolidated oversight of the All-Payer Claims Database, the SIM initiative, the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA), and the state’s health information technology initiatives into one state agency.

    HEALTHIER CONNECTICUT

    Connecticut has consistently been ranked as one of the healthiest states in the country by the United Health Foundation. The Foundation looks at health determinants categorized as community and environment, policy, clinical care, and behaviors to determine its rankings. Connecticut’s low incidences of infectious disease, low prevalence of smoking, and high childhood immunization rates all contribute to Connecticut’s high ranking at number three.[106]

    Universal Childhood Immunization Program

    In order to provide more life-saving vaccines to children at a lower cost, in 2012 Connecticut required health care providers who administer pediatric vaccines to participate in the state’s universal childhood immunization program. In addition, this administration secured multiple expansions of the vaccines covered under the childhood immunization program, adding vaccines for flu, pneumonia, Hepatitis A, and in 2017, for Human Papillomavirus. Between 2011 and 2016, the vaccination rate in Connecticut, already among the highest in the nation, increased by eight percent. More importantly, children are healthier: cases of whooping cough were reduced by 31 percent and cases of chicken pox were reduced by 65 percent from 2010 to 2017.

    Protected Drinking Water

    To address waning federal funds and ensure that Connecticut residents continue to have access to high quality drinking water for years to come, a safe drinking water assessment was developed in consultation with the water utilities. The assessment was designed to assure continued support for DPH’s oversight and regulation of the more than 2,500 public water systems that serve Connecticut residents. The state has aggressively addressed lead in public drinking water systems — between 2016 and 2018, DPH issued over 50 administrative orders to remediate findings of lead levels that exceeded acceptable standards at schools and child day care settings.

    Additionally, the state provided matching funds, sale of bonds, and repayment of loans for the federally funded Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) which provides low interest loans to eligible public water systems for drinking water infrastructure improvement projects. As of June 30, 2018, 162 loans have been executed for approximately $327 million. 

    As a result of ongoing efforts, DPH has consistently exceeded the national Government Performance and Results Act goal for providing drinking water that meets all applicable health standards. Connecticut has approximately 99 percent of its population served by community drinking water systems that meet all applicable health standards.

    Reduced Use of Tobacco

    Connecticut has made great strides in decreasing cigarette smoking. From 2011 to 2016, cigarette smoking fell by 23 percent among adults and 60 percent among youth. These improvements are the result of a variety of efforts, including increasing the taxes on tobacco products, enhancing access to prevention and cessation services, and the expansion of Connecticut’s Medicaid program to cover cessation services.

    Tobacco sales to minors dropped from 11.3 percent to 8.8 percent. This success was only possible because of the state’s strong commitment to enforce state tobacco laws.

    From 2011 to 2018, the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund also distributed more than $29 million to support anti-tobacco efforts in the state such as counter-marketing, cessation services, prevention services and information, and referral. In 2014, Governor Malloy spearheaded regulation of harmful e-cigarette products, banning the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems and other related devices to minors, as well as other initiatives to enhance the state’s effort to prevent tobacco use among minors.

    MORE WORK TO DO

    Connecticut is a national leader in healthcare. This transformation is only the beginning of an era of modernization and improvement that Connecticut must continue to embrace.

    To continue to reduce the number of uninsured residents, Connecticut should continue to support a robust marketplace for insurance, starting with Access Health but also including off-exchange products by the vibrant health insurance industry headquartered here in Connecticut.

    Expanding access to healthcare means reducing its cost. One necessary step toward controlling medical costs — the main driver of health insurance premium increases — is to adopt a mandated health benefit review process prior to a mandate becoming law. Another important area for cost control is Connecticut’s duplicative system of acute care hospitals. The demands by that industry for ever-increasing state subsidy will eventually crowd out more cost-effective community-based care. The state must demand accountability from this important sector.

    Another key to long-term cost control is the transition to outcome-based payment rather than fee for services and grant-based payments. This transition will take many years as individual providers, insurers, and patients become accustomed to new practices such as bundled payments, shared savings and risk-sharing agreements, and health homes.

    In order to fully realize the benefits of rebalancing our state’s long-term care system, Connecticut must continue to develop a strong system of providers who can meet the community-based care needs of a fast-growing panel of patients. The state must also work to ensure that the workers who have long cared for our most vulnerable seniors in nursing facilities are given opportunities to increase their skills to meet those community-care needs.

    The need to expand our capacity for community-based care goes well beyond the traditional nursing home population of seniors and the disabled. The use of institutions and emergency rooms in acute care hospitals to care for children and youth, for people with intellectual disabilities, and for those with behavioral health needs should be minimized for the benefit of those served and to avoid unnecessary costs. To accomplish this, we must also develop more community-based options for children and youth with behavioral health needs, residents struggling to overcome opioid addiction, and people with intellectual disabilities.

    Building on the significant progress already made by the Department of Social Services and the Office of Health Strategy, Connecticut must continue to advance comprehensive efforts to enhance access to health care and improve quality of care and outcomes for populations regardless of one's race, ethnicity, hometown, or income.

    One way to accomplish this is to recognize the social determinants of health and deploy those insights for improved strategies to prevent disease and unnecessary hospitalization. These strategies include linking clinical care to other community services and integrating community health workers into the state’s health system. It is especially critical that these new modes of healthcare delivery be made available to the Medicaid population, and the state should strongly consider using the federal waiver process to allow this to happen with federal support.

    Connecticut must also continue to stand up to aggressive partisan efforts to roll back access to health care, particularly for women. The state should adopt legislation in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra to ensure that women who seek counseling for pregnancy options receive complete and accurate information about available services.

    Connecticut enacted meaningful policy changes on a bipartisan basis to combat the opioid crisis. At the same time, as the epidemic persists. Connecticut must continue to decrease stigma and discrimination of substance use disorders and mental health disorders. We must continue to develop our response to emerging healthcare trends including local responses to substance use “hot spots.”

    Healthcare, including Medicaid, state-funded health services, public health, employee and retiree health benefits, and provider support, is and will continue to be the largest expense in the state budget. Maintaining and expanding access and quality of care are paramount goals for the state, but must be balanced with continuous effort to control costs, prioritize state initiatives and maximize federal support.

     


    95. Public Act 11-53: An Act Establishing a State Health Insurance Exchange
    96. Public Act 16-205: An Act Concerning Standards and Requirements for Health Carriers’ Provider Networks and Contracts Between Health Carriers and Participating Providers
    97. Public Act 14-12: An Act Concerning the Governor’s Recommendations To Improve Access to Health Care 
    Public Act 14-217: An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015
    Public Act 14-231: An Act Concerning the Department of Public Health’s Recommendations Regarding Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes
    98. Public Act 15-198: An Act Concerning Substance Abuse and Opioid Prevention
    99. Public Act 17-131: An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse
    100. Public Act 16-43: An Act Concerning Opioids and Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs
    101. Public Act 17-131: An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse
    102. Public Act 13-3: An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety
    103. Public Act 15-5: An Act Concerning the School Security Grant Program
    104. Public Act 17-2: An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2019, Making Appropriations Therefor, Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State and Implementing Provisions of the Budget
    Public Act 18-149: An Act Concerning Outpatient Clinics, Urgent Care Centers and Freestanding Emergency Departments
    105. Public Act 12-55: An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana
    106. America’s Health Rankings (2016) United Health Foundation: Connecticut Overall 2017

  • Reforming Connecticut's Child Welfare System – The Turnaround State

    “Ensuring the welfare of our children is among the most challenging, yet rewarding aspects of government. The court’s decision to streamline the process of ending federal oversight is certainly a welcome one and is a testament to the improvements that the DCF has made in its commitment to providing a family-oriented approach to child welfare under the leadership of Commissioner Katz.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy responding to a federal judge’s decision to approve a plan that would end a quarter-century of federal oversight of Connecticut’s child welfare agency, December 13, 2017

    Under the leadership of Governor Malloy and Commissioner Joette Katz, Connecticut made substantial and meaningful reform to the state’s child welfare system. These efforts were designed using data driven best practices, and were informed by stakeholder input. This successful integration of data with actual, real life experiences led to Connecticut’s current status as a national leader for child welfare system improvement. In response to the progress and other reforms made within the Department, the Annie E. Casey Foundation heralded Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) as the “Connecticut Turnaround” in 2015.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Achieved an almost 10% reduction in the total number of children in care, representing 439 fewer children.
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    Oversaw 76% decline in the number of children living in group settings, representing 1,094 fewer children.
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    Doubled the number of youth living with a relative or other person the child knows well. As of November 2018, 43.3 percent of children in care lived in a “kinship home.”
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    Decreased out-of-state placements from 357 children in 2011 to just 7 children in 2018.
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    Put the state on an achievable path to end decades of federal court oversight, affirming the remarkable transformation of the system.

     

    THE TURNAROUND STATE

    DCF has a consolidated statutory mandate that includes child protection, behavioral health, prevention, and educational services. At any point in time, the Department serves approximately 35,000 children and 15,000 families across its programs and mandated areas of service. The Department serves Connecticut families through a Strengthening Families Practice Model that includes the following seven cross-cutting themes:

    • Implementing strength-based family policy, practice and programs;
    • Applying the neuroscience of early childhood and adolescent development;
    • Expanding trauma-informed practice and culture;
    • Addressing racial inequities in all areas of the agency’s practice;
    • Building new community and agency partnerships;
    • Improving leadership, management, supervision and accountability; and
    • Becoming a learning organization.
    ENGAGING FAMILIES

    Early in the Malloy administration, a coordinated plan was initiated to make DCF less reliant on institutional/congregate settings and more strength-based by focusing on the early engagement of families as part of the solution.

    Implementation of a Differential Response System (DRS)

    Implementation of a Differential Response System (DRS) allowed DCF to adjust its response to families based on the level of risk. DRS helps to identify lower-risk families and then engage them as partners in assessing family strengths and needs. Participation in the program is voluntary. The DRS track stands in sharp contrast to the response to higher-risk families who remain subject to traditional child protection investigations, possible findings of abuse and neglect, and, potentially, court proceedings that may result in the removal of children or termination of parental rights.

    In March 2012, DCF launched DRS statewide. Since then, about 40 percent of reports have been diverted to the assessment track representing approximately 7,500 families a year. DRS allows DCF to identify family strengths that will keep children safe and identifies needs that can be addressed by accessing services from community service providers. Less than 10 percent are switched to the investigations track after finding a significant safety concern during the assessment process, and more than 40 percent of assessments were concluded without additional agency involvement. Most importantly, 90 percent of families on the Family Assessment Response (FAR) track have not received substantiated subsequent reports within two years after their first FAR approval date. This data reflects why this model works better for families.

    Announced Visits

    To be successful in enlisting families in actualizing solutions for children, DCF needed to ensure that families felt respected, valued, supported, and heard. One simple way to do this was to end the long-established practice of responding to a report of abuse or neglect by showing up at a family home “unannounced.” The agency implemented this change early in the administration, and its staff — unless the nature of the report indicated a child’s safety would be at risk as a result — began to make phone calls to family homes to make an appointment for the initial visit. This helped to lay a groundwork of respect just as other professionals might do if they needed to come to a family’s home to provide some form of assistance.

    Considered Removal Meetings

    In February 2013, DCF initiated “considered removal child and family team meetings” to engage families in finding solutions and alternatives to removing a child from their home whenever possible. Because the purpose was to prevent the trauma that comes from a removal, the design of the process was to hold the team meetings before removal unless the child’s safety required the meeting to be held afterwards. The team meeting would gather the family and all its supports to have a discussion about how the child can be maintained safely in the home, and, if that is not possible, then to determine if a relative or kin would be appropriate and willing to serve as a foster family. The data shows that this engagement process works even for families whose challenges are so significant that removal is under consideration or even a presumption.

    Number of Children with OPPLA Goal
    Since the start of this administration, DCF has reduced the number of children with a permanency goal of Other Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (OPPLA) in favor of preferred permanency goals including adoption and permanent transfer of guardianship where youth transition from foster care with connections to relatives and “fictive kin” as part of their support network.

    Fatherhood Initiative

    Each of the 14 DCF offices developed teams of staff to heighten awareness of the importance and need to improve the agency’s work in engaging fathers. A policy was implemented to help ensure that fathers and paternal relatives were identified and engaged early on in DCF’s cases — starting with the first call to the Careline. Supervisors assess fathers’ involvement at the intake stage and document plans to engage fathers at the first and subsequent supervisory conferences. Cases can no longer be closed or transferred without documentation of efforts made to identify and engage fathers, case plans without documentation of father identification or engagement are not approved. The percentage of fathers participating in DCF’s considered removal child and family team meetings has risen to nearly 60 percent in 2018 — up 10 percent since 2013.

    JUAN F. EXIT PLAN

    In acknowledgement of DCF’s continued progress and after over 25 years of federal court oversight, the U.S. District Court overseeing the Juan F. consent decree ordered a new exit plan in December 2017. The changes to the decree included a streamlined monitoring process and adequate staffing levels. Whereas the previous order required that 20 separate criteria be met for compliance, the new plan cuts those criteria in half. Not only is the criteria reduced to a more manageable number, but it is also more narrowly defined. Equally as significant, the new plan directs that any remaining criteria will be removed as they are met — further reducing the scope of federal court review. Overall, six outcomes that have yet to be met remain active in the new order. All other measures have been eliminated altogether or have been pre-certified as satisfied. Specifically, the new exit plan includes the hiring of more social workers and social work supervisors to keep caseloads at a manageable level, to support high quality case work, and to enable staff to spend more time engaging clients.

    In August 2018, the court monitor found that four additional outcomes that had been pre-certified have achieved the goal and will no longer be monitored. Another outcome — timely commencement of investigations — was qualified by the monitor for being removed from monitoring in the next two quarters. That means that only five outcome measures remain for the monitor to evaluate before DCF oversight can end entirely.

    STRENGTHENED PROTECTIONS FOR MINORS

    Strengthening Mandated Reporting

    In 2017, the DCF Careline received nearly 110,000 calls. 54,165 were reports of child abuse or neglect, of which 31,299 were accepted and assigned to either an investigative or family assessment response track. Calls to the Careline increased by more than 7 percent between 2015 and 2017, due in large part to enhanced mandated reporting laws that broadened the pool of mandated reporters and increased the penalties for failures or delays in reporting. New IT and data systems as well as staffing have aided DCF’s ability to follow up on calls in a timely manner and by the end of 2018, DCF will be able to accept electronic reports.

    Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

    Over the past several years, Connecticut has enacted legislation to promote public awareness and prevent child sex trafficking. To achieve this, the state is monitoring efforts to combat trafficking, clarified mandatory reporting, and provided a statewide oversight and monitoring body — the Trafficking in Persons Council. Connecticut has also enacted laws to increase a number of criminal penalties associated with sex trafficking-related crimes, focused on the perpetrators — the pimps and traffickers.

    Connecticut’s response to victims of child sex trafficking is unique. Many states simply rely on the fact that the alleged perpetrator of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) is not an “entrusted caregiver” in order to deny services to the victim. In Connecticut, victims of child sex trafficking are provided with services such as therapeutic mentoring. Between 2008 and 2017, 846 children were referred to DCF as possible victims of DMST. Between 2016 and 2018, the Department received a total of 414 referrals of children/youth who were either at-risk or confirmed victims of child trafficking. This dramatic increase in referrals has meant that DCF’s awareness efforts are resulting in identification of youth who are being exploited. Unfortunately, this trend also indicates that there are many unidentified victims in our state who are in need of rescue and support.

    Juvenile Justice

    The Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) operated by DCF closed in the spring of 2018, and juvenile justice functions were transferred to the Court Support Services Division in the Judicial Department effective July 1, 2018. During the Malloy administration, the number of youths housed at CJTS dropped precipitously due to a declining rate of juvenile and young adult arrests, record low crime rate, the impact of the Governor’s criminal justice reforms, and the enhanced behavioral health services made available by DCF to all of Connecticut’s youth. See Public Act 17-2[107] of the June Special Session, Public Act 18-31[108] and the Reimagining Justice chapter of this document on page 99 for additional information on the closure of CJTS.

    BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

    Children’s Behavioral Health Services

    Public Act 13-178[109] directed DCF, in consultation with various individuals and agencies, to develop a children’s behavioral health implementation plan with strategies to prevent or reduce the long-term negative impact of mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues on children. The plan, and its subsequent updates, provide a roadmap for enhanced coordination of children’s behavioral health services in Connecticut.

    Over the last eight years, DCF has focused on a range of behavioral health services, with a focus on more children being served in their communities. This has allowed DCF to identify and provide services for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which put a child at much greater risk for a range of trauma-related psychological, emotional, behavioral, and physical affects.

    Substance Use Services

    The demand for substance use services in the state continues to rise as the opioid epidemic persists. DCF estimates that parental substance abuse is responsible for up to half of the instances when children ages birth to six are identified as at risk for abuse, neglect, poor developmental outcomes, and/or removal from the home. The Department focused its efforts on evidence based strategies to address various substance use issues facing DCF involved families.

    In 2016, Governor Malloy launched an innovative Pay For Success (PFS) program aimed at measurably improving the lives of families struggling with substance use. Through the PFS model, the government repays private investors only if the program meets predetermined outcomes. Independent evaluators measure the effects of a program that demonstrate a return on investment based on specific metrics that benefit both individuals and society.

    Connecticut’s PFS project supports new treatment teams delivering family-based recovery to families in need. Each treatment team visits a client's home several times per week to promote positive parent-child interactions, increase parental awareness and understanding of child development, and help parents on their path to substance use recovery. The project was designed to help ensure family stability and keep children with their parents. As of 2018, more than 200 families had participated in the program.

    MORE WORK TO DO

    There is always more work to do in a child welfare agency. Maintaining funding and support for family-centered policies and programs, and providing community-based support services for children and their families, including trauma-informed services, are critical to assisting the thousands of children and their families served by DCF.

    Racial Justice

    For the last five years, the Department concentrated on racial justice due to the fact that families of color are disproportionately referred to DCF. Less than 40 percent of Connecticut’s children are identified as Hispanic, African American, or a mixed race. However, children of color make up almost two-thirds of maltreatment reports, substantiations of abuse and neglect, children in care and children in institutional care. This dramatic over-representation is the result of structural racial injustice. While racism may not be intentional in child welfare systems, its presence results in unfair and harmful effects for children and families of color.

    As a result, the Department has been and remains committed to apply a racial justice lens to all of its work. It is committed to measuring disparities in reports, investigations, entries into care, entries into institutional settings, and in achieving permanency. DCF established statewide workgroups to identify and measure unfair treatment and to monitor implementation of changes meant to address it.

    Through DCF’s racial justice effort, the agency is promoting greater equity for families of color who may come to the attention of child welfare because they need parenting services or other supports. By shining a light on this issue, DCF will continue to strengthen families and communities which will reduce the need for interventions by child welfare agencies. Creating a more racially just society is probably the most powerful prevention program that can be devised.

    Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) Project

    DCF is currently developing a fully federally compliant Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) for case management to replace the non-compliant, outdated, labor intensive SACWIS system, currently in use. The new CCWIS initiative will be federally funded at a rate of 50 percent reimbursement through Title IV-E Claiming.

    CCWIS will be the cornerstone of all of DCF's systems and fulfills the federal and state requirement of Child Protective Services agencies. This system will be the primary tool for Child Welfare case management. DCF will have reliable, fully compliant data for federal reporting and data analytics for decision making and performance improvement. It will also create a modern infrastructure that allows for easy modification of the system and will include a mobility initiative to provide DCF’s workforce with the best tools and technology available.

    Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center

    The Solnit Children’s Center South Campus is the only facility in Connecticut that serves youth 13-17 with high-end psychiatric needs. In response to recent events, DCF launched extensive efforts to improve safety involving the facility, enhance the treatment model, update clinical engagement protocols, and address safety considerations at the facility which was built in 1967. The improvements are driven by independent, national experts who have completed an exhaustive review with numerous recommendations that as of October 2018 were underway. In addition, national experts at Beacon Health Options are designing and implementing a quality assurance program going forward to ensure that improvements are sustained and that further improvements are instituted when warranted. For the sake of these children, the state must sustain these reforms.

     


    107. Public Act 17-2 (June Special Session): An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2019
    108. Public Act 18-31: An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee and Concerning the Transfer of Juvenile Services from the Department of Children and Families to the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch
    109. Public Act 13-178: An Act Concerning the Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Youths

  • Revitalizing Connecticut's Municipalities

    “Cities and towns will have a partner in Hartford, and we will marshal all the resources of the state government to help local projects…I've been on the municipal side of the equation, and I know firsthand how important that partnership could be.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy, First address as Governor to the Connecticut General Assembly, January 5, 2011

    With more than 20 years of experience in Stamford’s municipal government, Dannel P. Malloy was the first governor to serve as an urban mayor since Governor Thomas Meskill 40 years earlier. This background, along with his commitment to social justice and fairness in a state that has long favored suburban interest over those of central cities, led the Governor to embrace policies that treat the state’s urban communities more equitably, understanding their critical role in overall economic development.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Grew municipal aid from just under $4 billion per year to more than $5.1 billion annually.
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    Funded grant programs — including backfilling lost federal revenue — during a budget crisis, thereby shielding municipalities from increasing property tax levies as the state’s economy continued to struggle with the fallout of the Great Recession.
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    Created the Municipal Accountability Review Board to support and oversee municipalities with distressed finances, which offers new resources to towns while holding them accountable for their finances.
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    Expanded formula-based capital funding for municipal projects, resulting in key investments in infrastructure, economic and community development, housing, education, and culture and the arts.
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    Aided Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in our key corridors to boost local economies, incubate new businesses, increase accessibility of transit systems, and provide enjoyable recreational environments surrounding transit centers.
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    Invested approximately $206 million on brownfields revitalizing more than 250 properties in 72 cities and towns, leveraging more than $3 billion in other funds.

     

    SUPPORTING CONNECTICUT'S TOWNS

    Funding Education

    Connecticut’s largest municipal aid commitment is to public education, with more than $2 billion paying for Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grants to fund our local schools, another $1.3 billion to fund our obligations to the teachers’ pension system, and another $1.2 billion committed to school construction, transportation, magnet schools, and special education cost sharing grants, among other items. With the forthcoming spikes in the state’s annual contribution to the Teachers Retirement System, municipal aid growth will far outpace the growth in the state’s share of spending on Medicaid, debt service, and transportation during the same period.

    Facing the state’s ongoing fiscal challenges, the administration has redistributed aid away from the state’s wealthiest communities to the poorest, including central cities, inner-ring suburbs, and some rural communities. Examples include: back-filling the loss of time-limited federal ARRA funding that was used for education grants under Governor Rell; creating Alliance District grants for the highest need school districts; expanding formula-based capital funding for municipal projects; supporting the municipal revenue sharing program that was implemented in 2015, and passed in the October 2017 budget; and enacting ECS formula changes that directed new aid to the most-needy communities.

    Additionally, Governor Malloy took decisive action in Fiscal Year 2018, ordering additional funding for school districts housing students displaced by Hurricane Maria and other storms, which became part of the enacted budget revisions in Fiscal Year 2019.

    This philosophy was the basis for the Governor’s 2017 proposals to further target ECS aid to the neediest school districts and to have municipalities share the costs of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Historically, local governments negotiate their teacher agreements, including benefits, although the state has fully paid the employer share of pension contributions for school systems. The result has been a regressive system under which, for instance, the Town of Greenwich receives more assistance than the City of New Britain, despite their glaring wealth disparity. The proposals entailed distributing some of the $1.3 billion spent on TRS, through grant programs that assist school systems based on their financial need. While these proposals were not enacted, the enormous scale of the annual contributions made to this system — more than 25 percent of all municipal aid — make it a key component of any future efforts to direct more assistance to our neediest cities.

    MUNICIPAL AID GRANT PROGRAMS

    In January 2011, the state had a $3.7 billion deficit having borrowed $900 million to cover basic operating expenses and using one-time federal revenue from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to fund basic state aid for education. The state’s economy was still reeling from the Great Recession — and while other states cut municipal aid to balance their budgets and force local property tax increases, this administration maintained funding for Connecticut’s municipal aid programs, even backfilling lost federal resources with state funds. Not satisfied with flat funding municipal aid during difficult times, Governor Malloy oversaw an increase of 27.5 percent.

    These grant programs include the state’s Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to help cities and towns off-set the revenue lost from hosting tax-exempt property, including property owned by the state, colleges and universities, and hospitals; local capital improvement grants to assist municipalities with road construction, maintenance, beautification, and urban renewal; and funds to assist with economic and community development. Unlike most other states, Connecticut does not have county government. As a result, the state picks up a far greater share of aid to municipalities and maintains many of the responsibilities of a traditional county government like bonding for school construction.

    CAPITAL INVESTMENTS IN URBAN VITALITY

    Help for Connecticut’s cities is also found in the administration’s support for capital investments that strengthen communities and the regions they anchor. Major investments were made right in the heart of major cities, with more than $3.2 billion allocated to Bridgeport, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, and Waterbury. This support has included:

    • More than $122 million for libraries, museums, theaters, zoos, and arts organizations, which includes more than $4.5 million to aid renovations at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk;
    • $62 million for homeless shelters, childcare services, community service organizations, and senior centers;
    • More than $520 million to relocate, expand, launch, and grow businesses in Connecticut cities, with $191 million going to Stamford for the growth of companies such as NBC Sports, Charter Communications, Synchrony Bank, and Navigators;
    • More than $266 million for education-related capital projects, over and above the normal state assistance for K-12 school construction. This includes technical high schools, community colleges, public universities, and charter schools, with almost $70 million going to Waterbury;
    • $112 million for hospitals and non-profit providers providing behavioral health, primary care, services to the disabled and other health-related services, which includes $10 million for the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain to expand its facilities for Autism Spectrum Disorders;
    • More than $483 million for affordable housing and apartments, some of it located in downtowns and connected to Transit Oriented Development, with $74 million being invested in Bridgeport;
    • More than $27 million in park, playground, athletic and open space improvements, including $1.8 million to reconstruct the fishing pier at Fort Nathan Hale Park in New Haven;
    • More than $505 million in improvements to state-owned property and buildings, often located in cities, with more than $452 million being invested in Hartford;
    • More than $1 billion in major transportation projects, including local roads and bridges, and state highway and rail investments, more than $15 million of which has gone to Meriden to help revitalize the city.

    The capital investments contribute to the quality of life in cities, for all their residents. Whether they are reusing old industrial buildings for co-working environments, adding food trucks or creating new space, these projects create jobs, encourage related growth, and add to the vibrancy and vitality of our cities. 

    In addition, the state has maintained a robust STEAP program to aid our small towns with the investments they need to preserve historic buildings, develop theaters, museums and libraries, and maintain public parks.

    These transformative and innovative projects are helping move our cities and towns forward by making them stronger now, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the future.

    TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT (TOD)

    Governor Malloy’s urban policies are inextricably linked to his transportation policy. By supporting planning and implementation grants for TOD, the administration has explicitly directed the state’s development incentives toward locations served by existing and new transportation corridors, strengthening the economic vitality of cities and increasing access to public transit. The state has been leveraging the younger generations’ changing housing preferences, providing housing alternatives that provide car-free access to jobs in growing center cities — as well as additional transportation options, whether bike rentals and pathways or CTfastrak or CTrail. [For more on TOD, see the Transportation chapter on page 42]

    Case Study: Meriden

    The problem: The “Silver City” of about 60,000 residents is located halfway between Hartford and New Haven. In past centuries it experienced a manufacturing boom, but struggled as those jobs faded. The city’s transportation infrastructure was a relic of the stage coach era.

    The solution: Action was needed to take advantage of the city’s prime location on Interstate 91, along the Hartford Rail Line, and along major bus routes. The state stepped forward with major TOD efforts to invest in the properties and businesses surrounding these transportation arteries to make Meriden a destination — not merely a stop. It also invested in transformative flood control and housing projects for the downtown area.

    The outcome: Since 2011, the state has invested more than $80 million into Meriden’s development through the Urban Act alone. There has been an additional investment of more than $10 million through DECD programs for brownfields remediation and rehabilitation and economic development. These investments, combined with a variety of other funding sources, have resulted in the creation, rehabilitation, and development of businesses, infrastructure and cultural interests throughout the transportation corridor, fostering economic growth and community development. Meriden now boasts a brand new train station and parking garage, a state-of-the-art flood control project disguised as a beautiful downtown center green, new and expanded businesses and business opportunities, newly cleaned and usable buildings, massive streetscape improvements, and 542 new units of housing, including 487 affordable units. Most importantly, Meriden is now firmly positioned for a strong economic future, creating myriad benefits to all its residents and the greater overall region.

    Brownfield Remediation

    Connecticut is home to some of the most beautiful and historic cities in the country. However, a struggling economy for a prolonged period of time left many of those cities with abandoned buildings and vacant lots. Through its brownfields program, the state helped cleanup, demolish, or otherwise rehabilitate approximately 3,000 acres through more than 250 properties, in 72 cities and towns. The state leveraged approximately $15.39 in non-state funds for each state dollar invested. These investments include housing complexes, at least two breweries, and several new innovation spaces/incubators.

    Number of Brownfield Projects by Municipality

    MUNICIPAL ACCOUNTABILITY REVIEW BOARD (MARB)

    The state has stepped forward with a systematic approach to preventing and managing fiscal distress among our historically underfunded communities. Responding to the threat of bankruptcy in Hartford, Governor Malloy, working with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter among others, developed the new Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB) in 2017. This group exercises significant state control over certain communities based on a tiered system. There are currently two Tier 3 communities; Hartford and West Haven. MARB approves budget assumptions, collective bargaining agreements, and contracts for these communities, and works to put them on a path to recovery, including the development and implementation of five-year financial plans.

    Hartford’s recovery plan, along with an agreement under which the state agreed to pay local debts, restored the Capital City’s credit rating and signaled to the credit markets that Connecticut would stand with its cities and prevent default, while insisting upon financial responsibility and accountability.

    Case Study: Why Help Hartford?

    In 2017, Governor Malloy received a standing ovation from the members of the state House and Senate when he said, “For communities that would receive additional state dollars in this budget that support can only come with greater accountability for how taxpayer dollars are being spent — whether that be on education, city services or paying off long term debt. Directing state aid and oversight to those who need it the most ensures that the collective strength of a region — or a state, for that matter — is that much stronger. It is in our collective best interest that no town is brought to the brink of bankruptcy.” The agreement with Hartford reflects this commitment and policy.

    First, the City of Hartford was fast approaching insolvency in 2017. Deep cuts to City services had been implemented over the prior budget cycle; challenging labor negotiations with aggressive concession demands were underway; and the bills were about to come due for ill-conceived debt restructuring that had occurred in the prior administration. The City and state officials were concerned that the City could run out of cash, leading to a default on a debt payment or missed payroll if no alternative was developed.

    Second, with the establishment of the newly-formed Municipal Accountability Review Board came the ability to provide contract assistance to Hartford, which included MARB’s long-term state oversight of the City’s budget and its capital program, while strictly limiting any new debt issuances by the city as long as the assistance agreement was in place. Shortly thereafter, the MARB approved a five-year fiscal recovery plan and the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, and has been carrying out Hartford oversight since. This has enabled Hartford to regain an investment-grade credit rating and to turn its attention from managing a financial crisis to making changes necessary to strengthen the City and its finances over the long run.

    If the state had not stepped in with an assistance agreement, the alternative would likely been bankruptcy under Chapter 9. This would have been a costly option, with lawyers and financial advisors demanding millions to bring the matter to court, and would have provided no guarantees regarding how the bankruptcy court would ultimately act.

    If a default on bond payments had occurred, either because of a bankruptcy filing or because the City had simply run out of funds to make the payments, the consequences would have extended far beyond Hartford’s financial reputation and extend to other cities and the state. Connecticut cities would have seen downgrades as bond buyers realized that the state would not step in to prevent insolvency. Neighboring towns would have had to make up for Hartford’s inability to fund sewer charges or participate in regional activities. The state itself would have suffered with an insolvent capital city and would have to fully fund education services guaranteed by the state constitution due to the cities inability to provide them. The entire regional economy would have been weakened, as the center of employment lost its ability to provide basic services.

    By committing to fund the City’s debt service, all these bad outcomes were avoided without significantly changing the legislature’s ability to determine state aid to Hartford in the future, and without the financial and human suffering that would have come if the deal had not been put in place. Hartford’s future is bright, and the state can ensure the city’s fiscal discipline for decades to come.

    MORE WORK TO DO

    Connecticut is a small state with many bedroom communities and suburbs that provide great housing, exceptional public education, and a short commute to Boston and New York. This was an incredibly productive economic ecosystem for the state for the second half of the 20th century. As a result of strong business and regulatory environment as well as strong public schools, the state was a destination for corporate headquarters.

    However, at the end of the 20th century, these positive trends were undermined by deferred investments in infrastructure, a lack of comprehensive economic strategy, the national collapse of manufacturing, decades of economic disparities, and a legacy of segregation by race and income.

    Put simply, the state must continue to address these long standing issues and invest in its cities, so it can thrive and advance economically and culturally. Connecticut must continue transformative investments in cities, focusing on economic development, transit, housing, and education. People want a great place to live and work, and our state can provide both exceptionally well, particularly if we continue building on the inherent strengths of transit hubs by advancing TOD efforts.

    Further, we must continue to move the state’s municipal aid programs to direct more aid to those who need it, advancing the state’s social and economic goals, especially in times of fiscal scarcity. Lifting families from poverty helps our residents and our state. Inequities abound and are strikingly illogical; for example, Hartford, which has approximately the same property tax base as the suburb of Wilton, supports five times the number of students and almost seven times the population. It should not have to levy a property tax three times that of Wilton — unless the state intercedes to make the equation fair. We should continue to consider the impact of our urban policies across agencies.

    And, should the state put more efforts into developing its assets and investments regionally, it must ensure that the cities at the heart of those regions not only survive, but thrive.

    It is critical for the state to maintain support and funding for the Municipal Accountability Review Board, enabling it to address the needs of current Tier 3 communities, as well as additional communities that may need assistance in the future.

    The state must address the regressive funding system for teachers’ pensions in Connecticut. As is the case with our lack of county government, Connecticut is unique in how it funds its teacher pensions, with only the teacher and the state paying for the entirety of the system. In most jurisdictions, the cost of the employer share of the pension is borne by the employer — not entirely by the state. As pension costs increase, so do municipal aid costs, without the state having any control or oversight over those rising costs. This results in payments in hundreds of millions of dollars to the most affluent communities at the expense of municipalities. This needs to change. For more on Teacher pensions, see the Long Term Fiscal Health: Pensions and Benefits chapter on page 79.

  • Protecting the Environment

    “Connecticut has been a national leader in combating climate change and we have no plans of slowing down our efforts. In the absence of leadership from the White House in addressing climate change, it is incumbent upon the states to take action in order to protect their residents. We remain committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement because it is the right thing to do for not only the future of our state, but for the future of our planet.”

    —Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Connecticut joining the United States Climate Alliance, June 2, 2017

    Fairness to future generations of Connecticut residents demands adjustments to current practices to prevent climate disaster. In response to the undisputed facts of climate change, Governor Malloy pressed for legislation, regulations, and practices that made Connecticut’s environment healthier and better protected. Measurable gains were made across all environmental programs, from air, land, and water quality, to the conservation of wildlife, open space, and the enhancement of state parks.

    Progress during the Malloy administration

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    Reduced air pollution from major facilities by 23% from 2011 to 2017.
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    Championed and signed legislation in response to climate change that will greatly reduce greenhouse gases and protect state investments on the coast.
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    Led the creation of the first ever State Water Plan in 2018.
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    Prioritized remediation and reuse of brownfields, completing 421 cleanups and putting 3,624 acres back to productive use.
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    Added 5,059 acres to DEEP’s system of State Parks, State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas from 2010 to 2018.
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    Prioritized the preservation of open space, acquiring nearly 5,000 acres of state-owned open space and supporting the preservation of nearly an additional 10,000 acres across 130 towns.

     

    TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

    The science around climate change is indisputable. Temperatures continue to rise, the ice caps continue to melt, and weather is more severe than at any time in modern history. Caring about climate change was not only important for the interests of today, but also the interests of future generations.

    In response and compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Connecticut set ambitious goals to reduce the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Under the Malloy administration, that goal was achieved eight years early.

    Building upon the goals established under the Global Warming Solution Act, Public Act 18-82, An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency was successfully passed during the 2018 session. Public Act 18-82, created an interim target of a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.[110]  This will ensure Connecticut remains on a path to achieve an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act.

    Connecticut's GHG Reduction Path

    Improving Air Quality

    Connecticut is a national leader in reducing air pollution. Air quality affects how people breathe and how long people live; particularly those with respiratory issues such as asthma. In response, Connecticut reduced air pollution from major facilities by 23 percent from 2011 to 2017.

    Emissions from major sources of air pollution in 2011 declined by more than 2,400 tons in 2017. These emission reductions can be attributed to strong regulatory air programs, permitting of new clean natural gas plants, and renewable energy projects.

    The state also fought back against being the “tailpipe of America”, referring to the ozone pollution carried by wind from out-of-state power plants and heavy-duty diesel trucks driving through the state. By filing petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the transport of ozone pollution emanating from sources in upwind states.[111] In 2013, Connecticut joined 13 other states in filing a Clean Air Act petition to the EPA to expand the Ozone Transport Region to include nine upwind states.  Connecticut also filed a Clean Air Act petition to EPA to request an abatement of emissions from the three coal-fired units in York County, PA, which significantly contribute to ozone levels in Connecticut.[112]

    To reduce public health risk from ground-level ozone pollution, the state adopted protections in 2017 to reduce emissions of ozone precursors (nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds) from fuel-burning equipment (boilers, turbines and engines), municipal waste combustors, and paints and consumer products. Upon full implementation in 2017, these new rules are anticipated to reduce ozone precursor emissions by more than 1,000 tons per year.

    To reduce diesel emissions, the state invested in clean diesel projects utilizing state grant funds combined with private investment — which resulted in the reduction of air pollutants by a combined total of 2000 tons.

    In 2018, Connecticut was the first east coast state signed onto the Powering Past Coal Alliance committing the state to phasing out of traditional coal-fired electricity and placing a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.

    Climate Change Resiliency

    The state responded to both acute crises like storms Irene and Sandy, and the longer-term threat of climate-induced sea level rise. With the 2013 creation of CIRCA (Connecticut Institute for Resilience Climate Adaption), a consortium that brings together experts in the natural sciences, engineering, economic, political science, finance and law, Connecticut led the nation in developing the best available scientific analysis to better prepare and adapt to the potential destructive impacts of climate change. Additionally, the state provided 29 grants through CIRCA to municipalities and other organizations for resiliency planning, project implementation, and research.

    Governor Malloy also took executive action to strengthen the state’s ability to withstand the stronger and more common storms that the state will face due to climate change. Executive Order No. 50[113] established the State Agencies Fostering Resilience Council, which used advance risky analyses to create a Statewide Resilience Roadmap and a statewide policy on Disaster Resilience. Executive Order 53 was also issued which directed the State Building Inspector, together with the State Codes and Standards committee, to ensure that resiliency was built in to the state building code.

    Through extensive research and collaboration with local, regional and national partners, CIRCA projected that Connecticut will experience a sea level rise of approximately two feet by 2050.

    In response to the undisputed facts of climate change, Public Act 18-82, An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency prepares Connecticut by:

    • Updating the current statutory references to sea level rise to reflect CIRCA’s projections of approximately two feet by 2020.
    • Protecting Connecticut’s investments by requiring all future state projects located in the Coastal Boundary that are either undertaken by a state agency or funded by a state/federal grant or loan meet CIRCA’s projections by adjusting up an additional two feet above base flood.
    RENEWING OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

    Maintaining Adequate Supplies of Clean Water for the Public

    Water is used to provide transportation corridors for the movement of people and commerce, as a power source to fuel industry, to irrigate farms, to provide cooling for electric power generation, and to sustain the fish and shellfish that residents consume. Water provides recreation for fishermen, boaters, swimmers, and those who simply enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the state’s vast water resources. Most fundamentally, every day, water consumption is critical to personal survival. Governor Malloy understood that water is a public trust resource that must be stewarded with care. The first ever State Water Plan in 2018 resulted from an extensive stakeholder process led by four state agencies. Today, the state’s water resources were better protected for future generations.

    • In 2013, Connecticut’s Nitrogen Trading Program successfully and cost-effectively met the 2014 requirements for reducing nitrogen in Long Island Sound. The purpose of this program is to limit increased levels of nitrogen that occur from human waste, which fuels the growth of algae that eventually decays and consumes oxygen causing stress or suffocation of slow-moving or attached animals. In addition, the state has updated the nitrogen credit trading program that made this achievement possible, making continued reductions sustainable over the long term by eliminating the need for state subsidies.
    • A program was initiated in 2016 and 2017 to photo document stream flow conditions. The purpose was to visually observe and document the effects of consumptive registered diversions on stream flow. Photos provide qualitative and semi-quantitative data that will assist in stream flow planning and management.
    • Governor Malloy also invested in the maintenance of state-owned dams, including repairing nine high and significant hazard state-owned dams at a cost of $16 million. Ninety-four percent of all high hazard dams receiving required regulatory inspections under an owner stewardship program DEEP also maintained and repaired 29 federally constructed flood control projects protecting life and property of Connecticut residents.
    • DEEP performed the largest dam removal in Connecticut, to date. State-owned Springborn Dam on the Scantic River in Enfield was in poor condition, blocked fish passage, was a public safety risk, and held contaminated sediment. DEEP removed the dam and the contaminated sediment in 2017-2018 at a cost of $5 million dollars.

    This administration also ensured safe drinking water through infrastructure improvements, including projects valued at $78 million to upgrade water treatment plants and water system interconnections. In June 2018, Governor Malloy issued Executive Order No. 66 directing the state’s Water Planning Council (WPC) to immediately implement the State Water Plan.[114]  The plan was developed by the WPC to balance the needs of public water supply, economic development, recreation, and ecological health and was completed through an exhaustive and transparent process. The plan required legislative review and approval, but the legislative session ended without action from the General Assembly. The Governor’s executive order and the state water plan recommits the state to the 40 year statutory policy statement that “water is a public trust.”

    Creating a Cleaner, More Efficient Recycling System

    Lasting changes were made to the state’s waste management policies through the passage of Public Act 14-94, which set an ambitious goal of 60 percent diversion from disposal by 2024. Steps to meet that goal included the redevelopment of the Hartford resource recovery facility to decrease environmental impacts and recover materials of value, the adoption of 2016 Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy, and the creation of the RecycleCT Foundation to fund recycling education and grants.

    LAND CONSERVATION & PARK SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS

    Open Space

    Since 2011, the state acquired nearly 5,000 acres of state-owned open space. The state provided nearly $36 million in matching grants to more than 130 towns, land trusts, and water companies to permanently protect more than 9,849 acres of Connecticut’s most important and critical conservation and recreation areas.

    In 2015, the State of Connecticut, in partnership with the Town of Old Saybrook, The Trust for Public Land, the National Park Service, and many others, permanently protected The Preserve. This 1,000-acre coastal forest was the largest remaining unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston.

    In 2012, the State negotiated an enhanced and extended settlement agreement with Northeast Utilities (now Eversource) to protect almost 10,000 acres of open space as a result of the Northeast Utilities-NSTAR merger. The Agreement is in effect until 2024 and grants a first right of refusal to the State, towns, and local land trusts for any lands on the Agreement’s Conservation List. In addition, nearly 1,000 acres of land on the Conservation List was protected through a donation of land to the newly formed Northeast Utilities Land Trust in 2013.

    Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve
    In 2015 Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve in Bloomfield became Connecticut’s 110th state park.

    Growing Connecticut’s State Park System

    Connecticut’s State Parks are important, not only for their natural wonder, but also as an economic driver of tourism to the state. Since 2011, the state has acquired more than 5,000 acres of parkland, including:

    • Auerfarm State Park Scenic Reserve: 40 acres
    • Lake Williams Water Access: 178 acres
    • Seaside State Park: 32 acres
    • Bantam Lake Water Access: 3 acres — restored public access to largest natural lake in Connecticut
    • The Preserve: 926 acres — protection of largest remaining, unprotected coastal forest between Boston and New York by State, Town of Old Saybrook, and The Trust for Public Land
    • Tankerhoosen Wildlife Management Area: 454 acres — ensures protection of much of the ecologically intact and environmentally sensitive Tankerhoosen watershed

    To keep these parks as economic drivers of tourism, Governor Malloy has also dedicated $91.6 million for major renovations and land acquisitions for state parks and forests. Some highlights include:

    • Meigs Point Nature Center — a brand new nature center built and furnished in partnership with the Friends of Hammonasset Beach State Park.
    • West Beach Bathhouse at Hammonasset Beach — replaced facilities destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and moved them back from the beach to accommodate sea level rise.
    • Major utility replacement project at Hammonasset Beach, which undergrounded new gas, electric and water lines throughout the park and created a new 2.5 mile recreation trail above those lines.
    • Silver Sands bathhouse and boardwalk improvements to provide basic services for the public in Milford.
    • Potting shed and historic greenhouse reconstruction at Harkness Memorial State Park in cooperation with the Friends of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford.
    • Major renovation of the pavilion at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
    • Historic restoration work at Gillette Castle in Haddam.

    Governor Malloy also supported the creation of new state trails grant program, which provided grants to more than 40 municipal trail projects, totaling more than $6.5 million.

    Passport to Parks

    In 2017, the Passport to Parks initiative enabled all Connecticut residents with Connecticut license plates free access to the 110 state parks.[115]  Funds from a vehicle registration surcharge will provide sustainable, predictable funding to ensure resources are available for the maintenance and public access to state parks and forests in challenging budgetary times.

    Protecting Connecticut’s Wildlife

    Connecticut’s wildlife is remarkably diverse. There are more than 84 species of mammals, 335 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, 169 species of fish, and an estimated 20,000 species of invertebrates. This species richness is due to the diversity of landscapes, waterscapes, coastal plains, and the Long Island Sound. These diverse ecosystems are supported by a network of public lands, among them 111 properties encompassing 34,000 acres specifically maintained to enhance wildlife sustainability, which are known as Wildlife Management Areas.

    Since 2011, Connecticut secured more than $34 million in federal funding to advance the conservation, use and appreciation of Connecticut’s wildlife resources, and led a coalition of states, federal agencies, and other partners to restore the abundance of an array of rare and imperiled species that were on a trajectory toward extinction.

    LAND REUSE AND REMEDIATION

    Contaminated sites have greatly impacted the quality of land, groundwater, surface water, and air. Since 2011, DEEP’s Remediation Division completed 421 cleanups and put 3,624 acres back to productive use, including the Newhall Neighborhood cleanup in Hamden and the Exide Corporation site in the Mill River in Fairfield. The state also came to an agreement to make the clean-up of the English Station Power Plain in New Haven a condition of the proposed merger of two electric utility companies, putting an end to a decades long dispute over the responsibility to remediate the century-old power plant site. On the regulatory front, DEEP strengthened the Remediation Standard Regulation, required timely reporting of specific significant hazards, and held more than two-dozen roundtable forums with the regulated community.

    MORE WORK TO DO

    As temperatures continue to rise, ice caps continue to melt, weather is more severe than at any point in modern history, and as the federal Government rolls back regulations, Connecticut must continue to combat climate change and its effects. The threat of nearly two feet of rise of sea level in Long Island Sound by the year 2050 is looming and Connecticut must not only continue to care for our immediate interests, but the interests of future generations.

    We can do this by implementing and integrating our climate and energy policies to achieve our ambitious climate change goals. We must find ways to adapt to our changing climate to make our communities more resilient in the face of projected sea level rise. The next reasonable step would be for shoreline communities to follow the state’s lead by adapting or amending municipal coastal boundaries to reflect CIRCA’s projection and to adjust building foundation height an additional two feet above base flood.

    Superstorm Sandy
    Super Storm Sandy impacted Connecticut in late October 2012 and included hurricane-force wind gusts and rain that flooded many roads and left thousands without electricity for several days.

    Connecticut must continue to act in accordance with the State Water Plan as drafted. Water is a precious resource that should continue to be protected for the public’s interest and safeguarded for future generations in case of emergencies. The concept of water as a public trust is foundational to Connecticut’s water resource management structure and the Department’s ability to protect, preserve and enhance our water resources.

    Connecticut should continue to acquire, staff, and improve conservation and recreation lands for the benefit of the public. The states’ lands acquired over many decades provide residents with the quality of life that comes with extensive outdoor recreational opportunities. Connecticut's open spaces also offer scenic beauty, air and water quality protection, and support abundant wildlife populations. Connecticut should also commit to use the Passport to Parks Program funds exclusively for state park and forest operations, to ensure that the nine million-plus annual visitors are provided the full measure of improvements and staffing necessary to ensure public safety and cleanliness, as well as natural resource protection for public lands.

    Most importantly, during these times of uncertainty in Washington D.C., Connecticut must continue to resist efforts to weaken federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Moreover, where regulatory rollbacks at the federal level threaten Connecticut’s air and water quality, such as in the case of proposals to weaken vehicle emissions standards, Connecticut must be ready to take leadership with like-minded states to push back against those attempts.

     


    110. Public Act 18-82: An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency
    111. Petition to EPA For the Addition of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to the Ozone Transport Region 
    112. Petition to Reduce Emissions at Pennsylvania Coal Plant
    113. Governor Malloy's Executive Order No. 50
    114. Governor Malloy's Executive Order No. 66
    115. Passport to Parks