Office of Early Childhood merger takes us back, not forward
It is troubling that several of the budget proposals floating around the State Capitol call for the merger of the Office of Early Childhood into the State Department of Education. It was just three years ago that we finally brought together services touching families with young children from five different agencies into one stand-alone Office of Early Childhood, under the direction of a commissioner.
Childcare licensing and newborn home-visiting came from the Department of Public Health. State-funded child development centers and the Care4Kids child-care subsidy program came from the Department of Social Services. The Birth-to-Three program that provides services to children with developmental delays came from Department of Developmental Services. The School Readiness program and Head Start came from the State Department of Education and CT Charts-A-Course staff (the state’s early childhood workforce registry) came from the Board of Regents of Higher Ed.
Bringing all of these disparate programs into one agency with one person in charge was important for two reasons.
First, early childhood is defined as its own category in brain development because of how very different the brain functions and grows in these early years.