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State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) have been named 2018 Children’s Champions by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance and were presented with Children’s Champion Awards at the Riverbrook Regional YMCA in Wilton on June 29.

The award is given to legislators who demonstrate leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

“Each of the legislators we’re recognizing this year stood up for children to protect funding for child care or to push policy change that supports families with children,” Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay said in a press release.

Among legislation passed during the 2018 session were:


  • A measure that will make it easier for homeless families to obtain child care;

  • A bill that will allow the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to prioritize infants and toddlers if there’s a Care4Kids wait list and make it easier for the office to adjust provider rates for school readiness and state-funded centers;

  • A bill that requires insurance policies to cover essential health benefits, including pregnancy and immunizations.


“The earliest years are the best time in a child’s life to build a strong foundation for physical and mental health and lifelong learning abilities. That’s why education and services for young children are such an integral part of my work in the legislature,” said Lavielle, ranking member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee.

“Children who are well prepared both intellectually and emotionally to enter school progress the fastest, and are best equipped to learn new material, make friends, and take advantage of educational and professional opportunities as they grow older.”

Boucher said education and “issues affecting children” are the reasons she became involved in government in the first place.

“They will always be my passion and the key to the future of this state and nation,” said Boucher, who is current co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee.

Boucher began her political career as a member of the Wilton Board of Education and has also served as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Education.

Founded in 2002, the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety, and economic security for children ages birth to eight.