Senator Boucher Named a 2015 Children’s Champion

October 6, 2015
Senator Toni Boucher receives the Children's Champion Award from local YMCA school children in Bethel at the Western Connecticut Children's  Center.

Senator Toni Boucher receives the Children’s Champion Award from local YMCA school children in Bethel at the Western Connecticut Children’s Center.

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), the Senate ranking member on the Education Committee, was named a 2015 CT Early Childhood Alliance Children’s Champion at the Regional YMCA of Western CT in Bethel on October 5. Senator Boucher 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.

Sen. Boucher, who represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton, has been named a Children’s Champion twice previously, in 2009 and 2012.

“I am truly honored to be named a Children’s Champion,” Sen. Boucher said. “This is the fifth time I have received this honor, and each time is so special and meaningful to me. Young children and educational quality and access have always been top priorities in my public service work. I commend the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for its strong advocacy surrounding pre-school and early childhood education and promoting best practices in child development.”

“We value Senator Boucher’s knowledge and commitment to early childhood and to the success of all of Connecticut’s children,” said Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the CT Early Childhood Alliance. “It’s been a pleasure to present a Children’s Champion award to the senator, who exemplifies the role of a champion for children.”

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.

“Most of the focus this year was on the budget, but some good legislation passed,” said Karen Rainville, CT Early Childhood Alliance co-chair and the executive director of CT Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC). “Advocates worked with legislators, including those named as Children’s Champions, to craft effective policies for Connecticut children and their families.”