Connecticut must open pathways of opportunity for all

Last week the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth released a much-anticipated report that provides a business perspective on the causes and suggested responses necessary to cure our state’s economic woes. Overall, we support the report’s clear call for state investment to spur economic growth with a focus on education, workforce development, transportation, regional development, and core city revitalization. However, we fear the compressed time frame within which the Commission worked resulted in inconsistent — and in some cases unsound — recommendations, many of which are grounded in four fundamental errors. First, the vision and goals articulated at the outset of the report upon which the Commission bases its recommendations for “short-term, medium-term and long-term actions that will enable improved competitiveness and higher growth” omit any mention of the toxic impact of existing racial disparities and income and wealth inequity in the state.

Another budget, another (likely) tormented struggle to the finish line.

Much has been said and written about the state of nonprofits in Connecticut and the impact on services being provided to many of our must vulnerable citizens. Nonprofits providing human service exist to partner with government – the one of the people and by the people and for the people– to look out for those most in need, helping government and our society to fulfill one of its most basic obligations. I know we can parse around the edges about what being “in need” means. Some have more restrictive definitions than others, but in the end it’s our collective sense of common humanity that brings most of us together in solidarity and collaboration to be there for folks who, often through no fault of their own, turn to nonprofits for help.

Child Welfare in Connecticut: The DCF revenge machine

The abuse, starvation and near-death of a year-old baby while under the state’s protection put the Connecticut Department of Children and Families under intense scrutiny by the state’s child advocate  and others a year ago — scrutiny that continues today.  The following text is the introduction to a longer and more detailed analysis of the so-called “Baby Dylan” case by Richard Wexler, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

Veterans must be part of Connecticut’s economic recovery and growth

Connecticut Veterans are smart, highly trained, hard-working, dedicated, and team-oriented leaders who are comfortable in changing and dynamic environments.  Successfully reintegrated Veteran create economic, political, and social capital in our communities.  As we celebrate Veterans Day, let us remember they are national assets and an important part of restoring Connecticut opportunity and launching our great state’s economy on an upward trajectory.

People with intellectual disabilities deserve a chance to build a life

This year’s complicated and difficult process to develop a state budget has inflicted disproportionate injury on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. While the protracted negotiations continue, young graduates from our public schools have been forced to sit at home in state-imposed isolation, as there is no funding for the critical and longstanding Employment and Day Services program. As difficult as this has been, there is some reason for hope.

It can’t be business as usual in Connecticut

In its 92 years, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has been a steady resource throughout the Greater Hartford region despite the rise and fall of the economy. We have been through uncertain times before:  the Great Depression… the oil crisis of the 70s and the recession that followed… the dot com bubble burst of 2001, and the 2008 Great Recession. While this fiscal uncertainty is not new, our response must be.  It cannot be business as usual. 

Proposed budget cuts will affect services to intellectually disabled

Imminent state budget cuts means that the hours of staffing that will be lost, the transportation funding that will disappear, the recreation dollars that will not be available, will remove choice and opportunity from the people we serve. These cuts will set our profession back decades in terms of equality, civil rights and equal access for people with intellectual disabilities.

Time for Connecticut lawmakers to do the right thing for the disabled

Connecticut’s legislature, on a bi-partisan basis, has so far failed to do its most important job — adopt a budget. In response, the Gov. Dannel Malloy implemented an executive order to keep the state running that minimized its impact on the State’s Department of Developmental Services employees while devastating our most vulnerable citizens. Leaders can attempt to minimize the amount of damage inflicted, but if you are an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), this executive order is the shut off notice from the electric company.

Budget solution: Change the way Connecticut provides services

Let’s start with the harsh reality: beginning the new fiscal year without a state budget will result in human services agencies across Connecticut cutting services and closing doors. Yet since January, leaders of community nonprofits have offered a way to save $300 million over the biennium while re-investing that savings to people in need, by shifting more services from more expensive state government agencies into the nonprofit sector.