CAEYC Public Policy Agenda Update The Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children advocates policies that enhance the quality of life for ALL children and families
Office of Early Childhood Legislative Update
Early Childhood Bills Pass in the House and Senate
Several early childhood bills passed in both the House and the Senate, many unanimously. The Governor to date has signed all of the bills.
Senate Bill 1502 – An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services – Signed by the Governor in original
This is the 686-page budget implementer bill. This was an Emergency Certified bill that did not require the usual committee action. The bill passed 19-17 in the Senate; 78-65 in the House.
Here are the highlights of the bill related to early childhood:
Public Act 15-227 – An Act Concerning the Office of Early Childhood – Signed by the Governor
This is the OEC technical bill. Here are the highlights of the bill:
Public Act 15-134 – An Act Concerning Early Childhood Educator and Initiatives – Signed by the Governor
Here are the components of the bill:
Public Act 15-96 – An Act Prohibiting Out-Of-School Suspensions and Expulsion for Students in Preschool and Grades Kindergarten to Grade Two – Signed by the Governor
This bill applies to preschool programs operated under a local or regional board of education, state or local charter school, or magnet school. This bill will apply to School Readiness programs operating in a public school under the local or regional board of education. The bill states that no preschool program provider, as defined above, shall expel any child, except an expulsion hearing shall be conducted whenever there is reason to believe that the child was in possession of a firearm on or off school grounds or at a preschool program-sponsored event. The child shall be expelled for one calendar year if it is determined that the child did possess a firearm. A preschool program provider may modify the period of expulsion for a child on a case-by-case basis. The bill also states that a preschool program provider, as defined above, may only authorize an in-school suspension.
Public Act 15-161 – An Act Concerning Notification by Law Enforcement Agencies to Day Care Centers – Signed by the Governor
This bill requires (1) child care centers and family child care home providers to submit contact information to the local police department or state police troop, and (2) the local police department or state police troop to notify child care centers of emergency conditions near such child care center that may endanger the safety and welfare of the children. It is recommended that programs maintain a copy of the written notification provided to police on file at the program.
Public Act 15-157 – An Act Concerning Developmental Screenings for Children – Signed by the Governor
This bill requires authorized health care providers to indicate on the SDE early childhood health assessment record form or the health assessment form (yellow form) whether a developmental screening was conducted. “Developmental screening” means a screening using a method recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to identify concerns regarding a child’s physical and mental development, including, but not limited to, the child’s sensory, behavioral, motor, language, social, perceptual or emotional skills. Licensed child care providers should be aware that this information must be provided on the child health assessment forms maintained for all enrolled children.
Public Act 15-174 – An Act Concerning Childhood Vaccinations – Signed by the Governor
This bill states when a parent or guardian objects to an immunization on religious grounds, such objection must be accompanied by a statement from the parents or guardian that the immunization would be contrary to the religious belief of the child or the parents or guardian. The statement must be notarized or otherwise appropriately acknowledged and updated annually.
Public Act 15-39 – An Act Concerning Infant Safe Sleep Practices – Signed by the Governor
This bill requires hospitals to provide parents of newborns written information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about safe sleep practices.
Public Act 15-45 – An Act Establishing a Home Visitation Program Consortium – Signed by the Governor
This bill establishes a Home Visitation Program Consortium that shall (1) advise regarding the implementation of the recommendations in the Home Visiting report for the coordination of home visitation programs within the early childhood system, and (2) ensure the continued collaboration of home visitation programs within the state in order to improve the services offered to vulnerable families with young children. The Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, or designee, is designated as member of the Consortium. The OEC will staff this consortium.
Public Act 15-27 – An Act Concerning The Implementation of a Comprehensive Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan – Signed by the Governor
This bill establishes the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board that shall (1) execute and oversee a comprehensive implementation plan, and (2) ensure the continued collaboration of agencies and stakeholders in order to prevent or reduce the long-term negative impact of mental, emotional and behavioral health issues on children. The Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, or designee, is designated as a member of the board.
Public Act 15-10 – An Act Establishing a Task Force to Study the State-Wide Response to Family Violence – Signed by the Governor
A representative from the Office of Early Childhood, appointed by the Governor, will be a member of this task force.
Public Act 15-221 – An Act Concerning the Protection of Particularly Vulnerable Children – Signed by the Governor
This bill requires the child fatality review panel to conduct a study regarding the current policies and procedures used to protect particularly vulnerable children in the state from unexpected death or critical injury. The Office of the Child Advocate, in consultation with the child fatality review board, shall conduct a study regarding the causes and rates of child fatalities in the state. The Office of the Child Advocate shall submit a report by July 2, 2016, regarding the causes and rates of child fatalities in Connecticut. Not more than 60 days after the submission of the report, the Children’s and Education Committees shall hold a joint public forum regarding the causes and rates of child fatalities in Connecticut.
Public Act 15-143 – An Act Concerning the Legislative Commissioner’s Recommendations for Technical Revisions to the Education and Early Childhood Statutes – Signed by the Governor
This is a purely technical bill that cleans up several early childhood statutes.
If any OEC staff has questions, please contact Maggie Adair, Director of Government & Community Relations, Maggie.Adair@ct.gov or 860-713-6413.