Connecticut’s legislature has proposed to create a task force to study the effectiveness, impact and cohesiveness of workforce development programs and initiatives in the state. The commitment to promote better coordination and collaboration and a more effective and efficient system for workforce development should be applauded. One of the first agenda items for the task force should be to identify and examine existing strategies that demonstrate cross-cutting, collaborative approaches to job training and employment and promise opportunity for residents who face the greatest challenges to obtaining a living wage.
Opioid overdose deaths continue to rise. A 2015 DEA report showed a greater than thousand-fold increase in fentanyls —potent synthetic opioids— showing up in intercepted drugs. This, more than anything, fuels our worsening crisis. The economics and pharmacology of fentanyl are game changers. Word on the street is buyer beware. What’s sold as heroin is probably fentanyl. What looks like a Xanax, Oxycodone, or Ativan could also be fentanyl.
I am the president of the board of directors of the Arc Connecticut, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I am writing to applaud the efforts of several key legislative leaders for the part they are playing to preserve funding for people with I/DD despite the State’s increasingly difficult budget situation.
Barriers faced by people with disabilities are often not understood by those who are not disabled; living with dignity, respect, and independence is a daily challenge. … An important but less obvious barrier is the use of inappropriate language; words such as “lame,” or “retarded” remain in popular use. Disabled people are among the last minority groups where discrimination and inclusion are under-recognized issues. …
Drafting SB796 “An Act Concerning the Use of Respectful and Person-First Language,” the state attempts to encourage the use of respectful language.
What price homelessness? Can you put a price tag on what it means to lose your housing? Apparently, you can. The Commissioner of the Department of Housing recently testified at a public hearing that it costs the state of Connecticut $33,000 if a person who becomes homeless stays homeless for a year.
Connecticut’s Community Action Agencies are facing state and federal budget cuts unlike anything we’ve seen in our 50+ year history of serving low-income and working poor individuals and families. Last month over 200 CAA network staff, board members, and customers attended Community Action Day at the State Capitol to make their voices heard against these cuts, which will severely impact our ability to effectively serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.
Supporting seniors at home is not just a senior issue, it’s an inter-generational one. As a college student —and family caregiver for my grandmother— I am deeply concerned about the governor’s budget cuts that make it harder for older adults to age with dignity at home.
A common-sense approach to the state’s challenges is one that includes new revenue in addition to strategic spending cuts that does not ask low- to moderate-income residents to disproportionately shoulder the responsibility of our collective challenges and that supports the state’s long-term economic health.
The huge state deficit means there is a stark choice ahead for legislators: Preserve an antiquated system and balance the budget with brutal spending cuts that eliminate services for thousands of the state’s most vulnerable individuals. Or take the opportunity to update and modernize the state’s delivery of services in a way that maximizes dollars and provides the vital care that some families have waited for years to get.
A father of twin autistic boys is urging legislators to support Sen. Terry Gerratana’s bill that would enable DDS workers help families of disabled children and repurpose closing regional centers into respite care centers so families can continue to care for their loved ones at home.
Thousands of individuals across Connecticut turn to the state’s Independent Living Centers each year for services that provide living skills and support their access to housing, employment, health insurance and medical care. We urge the General Assembly to renew its support for independent living centers, because providing services that help individuals with disabilities live their lives and be contributing members of our society is good for those individuals and good for our community.
There is no higher priority than the well-being of our children. Our future and theirs depend on decisions we make today. That’s why it is essential that Connecticut’s legislative leaders support a key budget item to protect the most vulnerable of our children by affirming the governor’s recommendation to protect the budget of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).