Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), the ranking member of the Education Committee, was named a 2015 CT Early Childhood Alliance Children’s Champion at the Naramake Family Resource Center Preschool in Norwalk on Monday, Sept. 21. Lavielle is one of 26 state legislators honored this year by the CT Early Childhood Alliance, an outreach and advocacy organization.
Every year, the Alliance recognizes legislators who worked closely with early childhood advocates to shape legislation that impacts the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition and safety.
Lavielle, who represents Norwalk, Westport and Wilton, was recognized for her strong support of expanding access to early childhood programs and services, including early literacy and mental and behavioral health services. She also received the award in 2013.
“Early childhood is the most critical period in a child’s development,” said Lavielle. “It’s the best time to build a solid foundation for good health, emotional well-being, and lifelong learning abilities. 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 opportunities as they grow and develop. I thank the CT Early Childhood Alliance for its dedication to young children, and I am proud to stand beside this distinguished group of professionals who are so dedicated to improving the lives of young people. I thank them for their recognition, and I am honored to be named a Children’s Champion.”
Much of this year’s early childhood success centered on programs and services that were saved from elimination or major cuts in the biennium budget, including Community Plans for Early Childhood, HUSKY A, Early Literacy, Parent Trust Fund and the Children’s Trust Fund. Among the legislation passed: a bill that gives early childhood educators additional time to obtain their degrees, a bill that addresses safe sleeping practices for infants, a bill that implements a comprehensive mental, emotional and behavioral health plan; a bill that expands School Readiness seat eligibility by allowing programs to serve children who don’t live in the district; and a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to inform child care centers in emergency conditions.