As Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman put it, "It's been a complicated year for children."
Tough economic times lingered, forcing difficult choices on families and governments alike. Teens and young adults, facing an unemployment rate of about twice that of the rest of the population, postponed plans to move out of their parents' homes and launch careers. Meanwhile, some of Connecticut's longstanding problems continued, particularly an achievement gap in our schools that remained the largest in the country.
But on the other hand, the state and federal governments took some bold steps on behalf of children. The federal government, seeing the investment and prevention value in home visiting programs, announced it would give Connecticut $27 million for that purpose. And at the state Capitol, lawmakers adopted some of the most ambitious education legislation in many years, including a comprehensive plan to close the achievement gap and ensure all Connecticut children achieve literacy by Grade 3.
To understand the impact of these changes, the Commission invited lawmakers, representatives of Governor Dannel Malloy's administration, and advocates to a roundtable discussion held on May 15, less than a week after the 2012 General Assembly session adjourned. The talk delved into early childhood policy, youth employment, education, poverty, human services, nutrition and obesity, judicial matters, and housing.
Among the participants:
The forum also included recognition of Representatives Jack Thompson of Manchester and Marie Kirkley-Bey of Hartford for their years of service and leadership in child policy, poverty reduction, and health care.
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