Connecticut Commission on Children: An Agency of the Connecticut General Assembly
The Connecticut Commission on Children
dancing kids logo General Assembly logo 18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1591

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

On the Cutting Edge

The Commission on Children in 2013

The Commission's mandate

Public Act 85-584 created the nonpartisan Connecticut Commission on Children in 1985, mandating it to promote public policies in the best interests of children. To that end, the Commission develops landmark policies, brings dollars and donated skills to the state, leads in media discussions of children and youth, performs key research on children’s needs, brings the family to government (and vice versa), and regularly wins recognition as one of the best coordinating entities for children in the nation. This costs the state just $0.64 per child.

A smart return on investment

For each dollar invested in its budget, the Commission on Children brings in more than $1.45 from federal, foundation, and private sources. These funds do not come to the Commission. Rather, they support initiatives at the state and local levels. Here are some examples:

Initiative Approx. dollars
W.K. Kellogg Foundation—Connecticut portion of PLTI expansion as a research-based national model for parent engagement and family civics. $30,000
WorkPath Fund—a fund developed with philanthropy and workforce partners to raise dollars for parents who need specific and limited resources to keep a job or reach new employment such as funds for car repair, an employment test, work clothes, etc. $60,000
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving—Best urban practices for children and youth in Hartford focused on literacy, parent engagement, and reduction of childhood obesity low birth weight. $265,000
Grossman Family Foundation—Grant to address reading, using an alternative reading assessment tool, school mentors to train teachers and administrators in the science of teaching reading, trainings of parents on how to most effectively partner in their children's literacy, and the development of a civic canopy of community literacy opportunities. $880,000
Pew Foundation, Results First—Connecticut was selected to be a premier state for replication of the Results First return-on-investment prevention strategy in corrections and juvenile justice. $100,000
Zero to Three, Integration of Home Visitation—Connecticut was selected as seven among 23 applicants to work as part of a multi-state team at the national level on model home visitation integration with early care and education. $20,000
William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund—Work with parents, communities, civic leaders and state/local partners to increase parent leadership, promote pre-literacy/literacy activities for pre-school children, and propose social policy remedies to narrow the achievement gap and reduce the child poverty rate. $50,000
National League of Cities—Grant to create a resource of noteworthy town programs and policies for children and youth. $17,500
Examples of funding secured in previous years
Over the past eight years, helped to generate matching funds for parent leadership training in 23 towns and cities. $1 million
National Institute for Child Development funding from Congress to train school leaders and teachers in the science of reading. $3.3 million
Free technical assistance to create an out-of-school-time system of programs for children. Disney and Mott Foundations. $3 million
Philanthropic dollars for prevention programs, including the Packard and Travelers foundations, Research!America, and The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. $200,000
Funding for anti-bullying programs in schools to make learning safe, namely $500,000 from a private donor, which was matched by state dollars to create $1 million for the Safe Learning Act. $1 million

How we're reaching the public

A track record of model legislation and policies

The Commission has spearheaded policies, in collaboration with state policy leaders, that have put Connecticut in the forefront of children’s policy in the United States:

Literacy reforms in An Act Concerning Educational Reform (Public Act 12-116)

This legislation, which the Commission designed with the legislature's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, requires reforms to narrow the achievement gap in reading, including: a) new reading assessment instruments, b) a professional development plan in reading based on scientifically based reading research; c) provisions for individualized reading plans and interventions for every student in kindergarten through Grade 3 who is not reading at proficiency; d) improved training in early language acquisition for those in the early-care field; and e) transition plans between early care and kindergarten for each child in language and vocabulary.

An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws (Public Act 11-232)

The Commission assisted legislative leaders in drafting this measure, which takes a comprehensive approach to the prevention of school bullying. Among other things, the law requires that schools implement plans for creating safe climates, designate a safe school climate specialist, and establish anonymous reporting and accountability systems, including for cyberbullying.

An Act Establishing a Youth Employment System (Incorporated in Public Act 12-1)

Worked with the Connecticut Workforce Development Council to design Senate Bill 12-291, which made available tax credits for employers who hire young adults and develop youth employment strategies that bolster youth employment. The bill was eventually included in Public Act No. 12-1, An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget For The Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2012.

An Act Concerning Children Affected by Disaster and Terrorism (Public Act 11-66)

Ensures all schools and licensed child-care settings develop and test disaster response plans that address the needs of children. These plans must include evacuation plans, family reunification plans, and specific plans for children with special needs.

An Act Concerning Educational Reform (Public Act 12-116)

Requires that Connecticut elementary school children participate in a minimum of 20 minutes of physical exercise daily. Also establishes a pilot program for coordinated school health, bringing together all aspects of health and wellness. Both elements address the growing threat of childhood obesity in our state.

An Act Concerning Children In The Recession (Public Act 10-133)

This legislation made Connecticut the first state in the nation to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of children harmed by the economic downturn. It requires that whenever the state unemployment rate reaches 8 percent or higher, a leadership team from across state agencies must meet regularly to create a unified government response to such matters as hunger and homelessness.

An Act Concerning Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Families (Public Act 09-175)

Provides unemployed and under-employed fathers with the training they need to support their children and form better connections with them. It also gives judges the option to refer fathers to services instead of jail if they fall behind in their payments, due to unemployment.

An Act Concerning Civil Preparedness and the Needs of Children (Special Act 02-8)

With the adoption of this legislation, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a law addressing the needs of children in natural and unnatural disasters. At the same time, a Commission report was used nationally to assess the impact of terrorism and Hurricane Katrina on children.

The State Investment in Prevention Act bolsters a prevention response rather than crisis and high cost. Set a goal for state agencies that serve children and families: allocation of at least 10 percent of their budgets to prevention services by 2020. (Public Act 06-179)

Eliminating lead poisoning in children. In 2007, Public Act 07-2 required universal lead screening in pediatric wellness visits for all children at ages 12 and 24 months to ensure early detection and treatment. In 2008, landmark legislation in Connecticut (Public Act 08-106) preceded national law by setting standards for lead content in children's toys and products.

The Child Poverty Reduction Law. The first bill of its kind in the nation, seeks to reduce poverty among children by 50 percent within the next decade. Benchmarks and accountability measures are included. (Public Act 04-238)

The Parent Trust Act, a parent engagement initiative to maximize family input and participation in policy at the school, neighborhood, and state level. This Trust is being replicated in other states. It began in a partnership with our executive branch and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now the Graustein Memorial Fund matches these state dollars to assure family civics opportunities in towns through a competitive grant process.(Public Act 01-2) Note: The Parent Trust is proposed to be in the new Office of Early Childhood.

The Safe Learning Act ensured safe learning in school and the reduction of child aggression. (Public Act 01-1)

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