A new state Office of Early Childhood will be established if Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s legislative agenda that he proposes on Wednesday passes the General Assembly. Malloy made the announcement at the Institute for the Hispanic Family in Hartford.
“We are transforming how we address early childhood care and development in Connecticut,” said Governor Malloy. “Engaging in a comprehensive approach for the delivery of services to children and their parents means better, more focused programming, and is an important addition to the education reforms that are already underway. When we improve early childhood education, we set a foundation for our young people that they will build on their entire lives.
The Office of Early Childhood will be comprised of related programs that were previously housed in five separate state agencies — the Department of Education’s School Readiness program, the Department of Social Services’ Care for Kids, Children’s Trust Fund, and other childcare programs, the Department of Public Health’s childcare licensing program, the Department of Developmental Services’ Birth to 3 program, and the Board of Regents’ Charts a Course program.
Seventy-one staff will move to the new office, and four new positions will be created—an executive director and three staff positions. The OEC will require a $370,000 investment in fiscal year 2014, and will use the Department of Education administrative and back office support.
The program will phase in over two years and strengthen programming and teacher training as well as improve accessibility to early care and education programs.
Malloy told the gathering he held his announcement at the Institute for the Hispanic Family because of its successful school readiness programming for 3-5 year olds with a strong focus on the pre-literacy skills children need to succeed. He also joked, “Plus it’s close to the Capitol.” The center is less than a mile from Malloy’s office.
Among the Latino legislators in attendance at the announcement were state Reps. Angel Arce (D-Hartford), Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford), and Robert Sanchez (D-New Britain).