Dear friends of The Village, As someone who cares about children and families, I can only imagine that you share our deep concern about the impact of the separation of children from their families
The Village Blog
Hear our views and news about our work with others to improve the quality of life for children and families in the state. Our blog features Village leaders and other experts. Join the conversation by sharing and commenting on the posts.
The Village family and members of the communities we serve have been affected by the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico and Mexico. Join us in action, advocacy and assistance.
As father, grandfather, Hartford resident, and leader of an organization whose promise is “So every child believes in tomorrow,” I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about what we say to those children when they see and hear what’s been happening in Hartford neighborhoods and in a South Carolina church. I’m reminded of a quote from the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, "There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible." How do we help children – and parents – make sense of the violence in their communities and in sacred places? How do we help them to feel safe? How can we keep them on a path of healthy growth and development during crises and tumultuous times?
The recent news that over 1,200 children were suspended from kindergarten and first grade from CT schools last year was appalling. Worse is that number increased nearly 20 percent from two years ago. Success in the early grades paves the way for long-term academic success. But, when children fail early in life, it puts them at an extraordinary disadvantage – for their entire life. They just can't catch up, without significant – and costly – help. The problem – and the solutions – begin before kindergarten. With the right supports, vulnerable children can succeed. We need to act now to make sure that happens.
I understand the need to keep our State’s fiscal house in order, but does it have to be at the expense of our most vulnerable children? Yesterday’s announcement by the Governor’s office to cut $48 million from the State budget to ensure we don’t end the year with a deficit was not a surprise. What was dismaying was that the largest cuts – a total of $8.8 million – are to the Department of Children and Families, including programs at both ends of the spectrum, from prevention to crisis.
I’m thrilled that our legislators and Governor are showing a strong commitment to expand access to high-quality early childhood care and education. We at The Village know how critical it is to reach children early in life – to provide opportunities for children to develop in all areas: emotionally, socially and academically.
Inspired by speakers with national expertise – and our own CT leaders, I realize that a Children’s Movement is beginning in Connecticut. Be a part of the movement to ensure that children receive the services they need – from the start – to be on a path to success.