Connecticut Commission on Children: An Agency of the Connecticut General Assembly
The Connecticut Commission on Children
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Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1591

Phone: (860) 240-0290  | Fax: (860) 240-0248 | E-mail

Smart Investments in Hard Times: A Report on Connecticut's Children

A forum held by the Commission on Children on January 13, 2009, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford 
Joseph McGeeBarbara RuheDavid CarterDavid Fink

The Commission assembled a panel of experts on children and economic development to discuss the importance of continuing to invest in Connecticut's children despite these hard economic times. To get a free DVD containing the full presentation, e-mail us or call (860) 240-0078.

Video segments | More resources

Video segments

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Dr. M. Alex Geertsma, chair of the Commission on Children, opens the discussion

"One of the great lessons of the Great Depression was that this country came together ... It got back to its pure center. That was largely compassion for each other as citizens and friends and colleagues and community members."

2 minutes, 41 seconds

Elaine Zimmerman, executive director of the Commission on Children, outlines how children are faring in the recession.

"What we do know is that children who are homeless end up doing not as well in school, having emotional instability, physical health problems, and behavioral health problems."

10 minutes

Elaine Zimmerman describes what she means by 'smart investments.'

"In one year, low birth weights cost our state $195 million.The research tells us that if you took a mom three months before her delivery and made sure she was on WIC -- so that she was getting proper nutrition -- you would essentially close out the low birth weight problem."

9 minutes, 59 seconds

Elaine Zimmerman explains that government needs to get stimulus funds to those who will return it to the economy right away.

"In a shared recovery for our state, we need to alleviate hardship by providing short-term relief for those most harmed by the recession, including families."

4 minutes, 1 second

David Carter, chancellor of the Connecticut State University System, discusses the value of investing in children in tough economic time

"There are five states that contribute more to corrections than education, and we rank No. 4 out of the five. Where are our values? What are we committed to? If you want tomorrow to be better, you have to be willing to invest today."

9 minutes, 51 seconds

David Carter discusses the value of investing in children in tough economic times

"Part of what we must do, if children are to succeed, is teach adults how to be parents."

6 minutes, 26 seconds

David Fink, policy and communications director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, discusses the importance of stable housing for children  

"Kids can't come from bad housing situations, go to school, go back to that housing situation, and succeed.

8 minutes, 11 seconds

Joseph McGee, vice president for public policy and programs at the Business Council of Fairfield County, talks about education as an investment in Connecticut's post-recession future.

"When we come out of this recession and companies start hiring again, they're going to ask, 'What area of the country has an available supply of labor that is qualified to work at our companies?"

6 minutes, 22 seconds

Joseph McGee talks about the need to preserve reading programs and make other smart investments

"The business community is saying to the governor and to the legislature: 'Let's step back a bit. Let's not just cut 10 percent [out of the budget.] Let's look at the critical issues that have to be funded over the next two years - so that we don't fall back - and make them the things we get done.' We think reading and children really are important. It's an economic development issue."

4 minutes, 55 seconds

Responses to the presentations, including remarks by Representative Marie Kirkley-Bey and Commission member Barbara H. Ruhe 

"I would like to invite everyone who's on this panel to come to my community center, which is in the poorest neighborhood in Hartford, and look at the conditions these kids live in every day. You don't have to listen to the statistics. You can see it for yourself. We feed our kids every day, because sometimes that is the only meal they get."  - Rep. Kirkley-Bey

9 minutes, 14 seconds

Responses to the presentations, including remarks by Commission members Judith Busch, Alison Hilding, Laura Lee Simon, and George Coleman  

"We have to have strategies that are serious about supporting and making productive the potential of people who live in our urban centers." -- George Coleman

9 minutes, 59 seconds

Responses to the presentations, including closing remarks by Dr. M. Alex Geertsma, chair of the Commission on Children 

"I'd like to believe that in a few years, or a few months if we're lucky, we're going to look back on this and say, 'It was the worst of times, but it's going to be the best of times.'"

9 minutes, 59 seconds

More resources

A Children's Stock Portfolio This 25-page report, organized like a stock portfolio but written in plain English, shows that state prevention policies help children succeed and produce a healthy return-on-investment (ROI) for the state.  Download a PDF copy

The Social State of Connecticut: 2008 This 90-page report, co-sponsored with the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, measures Connecticut's "social health" in 11 quality-of-life areas. Download a PDF copy | More on this report and download earlier reports

Connecticut's Playbook for Prevention This is an easy-to-read "game plan" that parents, educators, care providers, and policymakers can follow to ensure all Connecticut children grow into happy, healthy, and productive adults. Released in February 2008. To read more about the Playbook, download PDF versions of it, or order printed copies, visit

What are the best ways to reduce child poverty? That was the question addressed on Friday, December 7, when the state Poverty and Prevention Council heard from a panel of national experts. The Council had received 67 recommendations for reducing child poverty in Connecticut over the next 10 years, and the experts identified the ones they thought would make the greatest impact. Download the experts' report (PDF)

Among the statistics in this Commission factsheet: Hartford has the sixth-highest child poverty rate in the nation among cities with populations exceeding 100,000. It's joined by three other Connecticut cities -- Waterbury, Bridgeport and New Haven -- among the 75 cities with the highest child poverty rates in the nation.


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