oec: Gov. Malloy, Congressional Members Visit Child Care Center in Torrington
2014

Gov. Malloy, Congressional Members Visit Child Care Center in Torrington

 

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, and local officials, this afternoon visited Torrington Child Care Center, Inc., an high-quality preschool program in Torrington slated to receive 80 new and improved high-quality preschool spaces as part of a recently awarded federal grant.  The grant, funded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, will provide the state with $12.5 million in discretionary federal funding to expand high-quality preschool in Connecticut.

 

“All young children should have the chance to succeed in school and in life, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to provide children with high-quality early education,” Governor Malloy said.  “These federal dollars will allow more than 700 children in some of our state’s neediest communities attend high-quality preschool where they will not only be learning, but will receive comprehensive services and be surrounded by highly-qualified teachers as well.”

 

Connecticut’s expansion plan for the federal grant aligns with the state’s strong existing preschool infrastructure to expand access to high-quality state-funded preschool programs for 428 children and to improve the quality of state-funded preschool programs for another 284 children, for a total of 712 four-year-olds who are at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line in 14 high-need communities.  The 14 communities are Bridgeport, Derby, East Haven, Griswold, Groton, Hamden, Hebron, Killingly, Manchester, Naugatuck, Seymour, Torrington, Vernon and Wolcott. Torrington will receive funding for 42 new high-quality spaces and funding to improve of 38 existing preschool spaces to high-quality.

 

Senator Blumenthal said, “This federal grant will provide more than 80 Torrington children with an excellent preschool education.  Under Governor Malloy, Connecticut is a national leader in early education, with the Torrington Child Care Center, Hilltop Christian Early Learning Center and Litchfield County Head Start all serving as proud examples of the kind of nurturing, supportive environments that sets the foundation for lifelong success.  I was proud to support the state’s Race to the Top application, and look forward to returning to Torrington soon to see these young children thriving and shining in their classrooms.”

 

“My kids are 3 and 6 years old, so right now, my family is particularly appreciative of everything early childhood education does to improve a kid’s well-being” said Senator Murphy. “Countless studies have shown that these early years are critical for a kid’s development and success in the long run, so I’m thrilled that Connecticut will now be able to expand the high-quality preschool programs that all families should have access to.”

 

“Early childhood education, and the dedicated teachers who serve in those classrooms, enrich the lives of our youngest citizens and their families,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.  “The investment literally pays of over a lifetime and is a cornerstone of our efforts to close the achievement gap, combat poverty and provide all kids with opportunities to thrive. Low-income children in Derby, East Haven, Hamden, Naugatuck and Seymour should have the same opportunities as their peers and this grant is one step towards ensuring that happens.”

 

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said, “Access to early childhood education is one of the greatest investments we can make for our children to help them learn, grown, and thrive.  Today’s visit to the Torrington Child Care Center reinforced how important quality pre-school is for our children.  I’m thrilled our state received this competitive federal grant, which will bring us one step closer to making sure every Connecticut family has access to high-quality, early childhood education.”

 

“Thanks to our strong existing state-funded preschool system and enduring partnerships with communities throughout the state, we are able to provide these high-quality learning experiences and services to young children and their families,” Commissioner Jones-Taylor said. “We are seeing poverty grow in towns throughout our state, not just in our urban areas. This federal grant allows us to provide much needed care and education to these communities and families in need.”

 

In addition to improvements to the state-funded preschool program’s infrastructure, the 14 communities participating in the expansion will have high-quality preschool programs which will include:

  • comprehensive services to children and families;
  • teacher compensation equal to K-12 teachers;
  • family engagement practices at the local level;
  • a seamless birth-through-third-grade continuum at the local level; and
  • an enhanced professional development system offering more targeted and individualized coaching, mentoring and consultation designed to meet the unique needs of programs and teachers within the programs.

Torrington Child Care Center, Inc. currently serves 53 children through state-funded early care and education programs.  The federal expansion will nearly double the program’s capacity with 42 new spaces  and the improvement of six existing spaces to full-day, full-year opportunities.  Two other Torrington programs that will benefit from the federal expansion are Hilltop Christian Early Learning Center and Litchfield County Head Start.

 

“As someone who has worked in the child care field for 35 years, I am thrilled to be one of the programs receiving this federal grant to expand pre-K for Torrington's children,” said Mary Cecchinato, Executive Director of Torrington Child Care Center, Inc.  “This new funding will help to assure that more preschool children will have an affordable quality program before entering kindergarten. I’m proud to be a part of this state, local, and federal partnership that leverages existing resources and continues to build a coordinated early childhood system in Connecticut."

 

Thirteen out of 27 states that applied for competitive grants to expand high-quality preschool programs were awarded over $170 million in federal funding.  In addition to Connecticut, the states that received funding are Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

 

In June, Governor Malloy announced the allocation of an additional 1,020 School Readiness opportunities for low-income children in 46 towns and cities throughout Connecticut. The increase is part of a five-year plan to expand state-funded preschool to serve a total of 4,010 more low-income children by 2019. In 2012, Governor Malloy approved a similar expansion of 1,000 School Readiness opportunities for children throughout the state. 

 

In addition, Public Act 14-41 established the Connecticut Smart Start Program which is intended to expand preschool opportunities for low-income children in public schools. Connecticut Smart Start will provide grants in FY15 for the renovation of existing public school classrooms to accommodate public preschool programs. Proposals for Smart Start funding are due from local and regional boards of education on December 19.

 

For more information about the expansion, please go to www.ct.gov/oec and click on “Collaborations and Initiatives.”

 

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For Immediate Release: December 19, 2014

Contact: David Bednarz

Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

David.Bednarz@ct.gov

860-524-7315 (office)

860-770-9792 (cell)

 

Contact: Diana Lejardi

Office of Early Childhood

Diana.Lejardi@ct.gov

860-713-6414 (office)

Click here for photos from the event





Content Last Modified on 12/19/2014 3:44:11 PM