HARTFORD – State Senator Beth Bye and State Representative Andy Fleischmann, both of West Hartford, are among 12 legislators selected as 2018 “Children’s Champions” by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. Bye and Fleischmann, who were among 12 legislators to be so honored, received their awards on June 26 at the School for Young Children in West Hartford.
The Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.
“Each of the legislators we’re recognizing this year stood up for children to protect funding for child care or to push policy change that supports families with children,” said Merrill Gay, executive director of the Alliance, in announcing the 2018 honorees.
According to Gay, legislation passed this year includes: a bill that will make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care; a bill allowing the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to prioritize infants and toddlers in the event there exists a Care4Kids wait list; and an act mandating insurance coverage of essential health benefits including pregnancy and immunizations.
“In these tough budget times, it’s been difficult – given all the fiscal constraints – to fund early childhood initiatives. But we have successfully fought off various cuts and are always looking for ways to expand access to early childhood education,” Bye said. “I’m very honored to receive this award this year and to be recognized by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. But I have to say that over the past five years the legislature really has not done enough for young children, and we have to redouble our efforts with young children and families to get them access to the quality, early childhood experiences that they deserve.”
In addition to Bye and Fleischmann, other legislators honored include: Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, Rep. Michelle Cook, Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, Rep. Gayle Schlossberg, Rep. Bobby Sanchez, Rep. Toni Walker, Sen. Toni Boucher, Sen. Paul Formica, Sen. Marilyn Moore, and Sen. Cathy Osten.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security, for children ages birth to eight.
(Courtesy of WeHa.com.)
CAP: Luke and Claire help Merrill Gay, executive director of the CT Early Childhood Alliance, present Sen. Beth Bye with a 2018 Children’s Champions. State Rep. Andy Fleischmann also received the distinction. Photo courtesy: CT Early Childhood Alliance