Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Receives $27 Million Grant to Enhance Early Childhood Development
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut has been awarded a $26.8 million federal grant that will be used to help the state further its early childhood development goals.
The federal Preschool Development Birth through Five Renewal Grant will be administered by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and will enable the agency to design and launch better, more cost-effective systems to support family resilience and early childhood development. Connecticut’s grant lifts parent voice and community-based solutions as key drivers of improvements. It also has a focus on developing and retaining the early childhood workforce.
“The strength of our state is dependent upon the strength of our workforce, which is why it is critical that we have resources in place for the youngest people in our communities – regardless of their zip code or family income level – so that as they grow, they can achieve greater opportunities that lead to success throughout their career as adults,” Governor Lamont said. “This grant is going to help in our efforts to close the achievement gaps that have persisted for too long.”
Office of Early Childhood Commissioner (OEC) Beth Bye said that Connecticut was well-positioned to win this highly competitive grant because the agency she leads serves as a national model integrating programs for young children and families. Through a family-centered approach, OEC serves thousands of children each year through child care, preschool, home visiting, health and safety assurance, early intervention, and parenting supports.
“This is great news for young children and their families in Connecticut,” Commissioner Bye said. “This grant will help OEC implement a strategic vision for early childhood services in our state that improve the quality, enhance access, and yield better outcomes for children and their families.”
The grant will strengthen the Birth to Five system by supporting a collaboration between eight state agencies to create efficiencies in services, focus on customer service, innovate strategies, and expand public-private partnerships. In the area of data and outcomes, the grant will redesign OEC’s Early Childhood Information System (ECIS), invest in a Quality Improvement System (QIS), establish a performance and accountability process, and improve contracting procurement.
The early childhood workforce pipeline is an area of investment in development, degree completion and retention. Strategies will be identified and implemented to promote recruitment of an early childhood workforce that is culturally, racially and linguistically diverse, and fairly compensated. The grant will enhance parent and community voice through the establishment of an Office of Family and Community Partnerships, a Parent Cabinet, and development of parent leaders. On the community level, the grant will support local and regional community collaboratives that focus on Birth to Five service coordination, equity, data, and outcomes.
The grant award commences January 1, 2020 for a three-year period.