Senator Boucher Testifies in Favor of Two-Generational Initiative

March 3, 2017

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) testified before the legislature’s Human Services Committee Thursday in support of a bill to establish a permanent two-generational initiative to combat poverty in the state.

SB 873, An Act Concerning A Two-Generational Initiative, would add permanency to an existing pilot program that provides services to low-income children and their parents for education and workforce development. Sen. Boucher said her support for the program is based on her personal experience over the years giving birth to her three children in an inner-city hospital.

“Each of those three times that I was giving birth to my three children, my roommates were either a 12- or 13-year-old unwed mother having a first child. It was devastating to me,” she said. “And in each case there was no parent. In each case, maybe there might have been a minister and in one case, maybe a boyfriend that only showed up for two minutes and left. My discussions with these young ladies just broke my heart. And I knew their life would be a struggle.”

Sen. Boucher said the young mothers she met were barely out of middle school and would have difficulty taking care of themselves, let alone a baby. The children born to these mothers were caught in a cycle of poverty with little hope of escape.

The two-generational initiative that offers services for the child, while also helping the parent complete their education and acquire job skills is method to stop the cycle, she said.

“When this proposal came forward, I said ‘This is exactly what’s needed.’ We need to take care of the situation not just for this child brought into this poor environment but to that parent so that they can have a productive life and be a good role model,” Sen. Boucher said. “There is nothing more important to break the cycle of poverty than (programs like) this.”

Organizations, such as Catholic Charities, and their clients testified in favor of the bill. It received bi-partisan support at the hearing. Sen. Boucher said this cooperation is the best part of her job as a State Senator.

“It is one of those moments where it is truly a joy,” she said. “When we can work together, no matter what our political backgrounds may be, in a time of such rancor. I know it’s (this program) doing good things and will continue to do good things.”

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.