Policy Resource

Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood

Nov 13, 2017

In June 2013, former Governor of Connecticut Dannel P. Malloy established the state’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to coordinate and improve the various early childhood programs and components in the state to create a cohesive high-quality early childhood system.

With the vision that all young children in Connecticut are safe, healthy, learning, and thriving, former Governor of Connecticut Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act 14-39, establishing the state’s Office of Early Childhood in statute. The OEC provides a comprehensive, collaborative system for delivering services to children ages 0 to 5 and their families in Connecticut. The OEC brings together programs from five different agencies - the State Department of Education (SDE), Department of Social Services (DSS), Board of Regents (BOR), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and Department of Public Health (DPH). Staggering the OEC’s implementation in phases enabled the new agency to account for the complexity of consolidating multiple programs without weakening the intended impact of such a move. Policymakers hoped that bringing these programs together in one cabinet-level agency would improve both the continuity and reach of early childhood programs.

Connecticut’s OEC provides funding, standards, regulations, training, and oversight to ensure that early care and education programs for young children: are safe, healthy, and nurturing; effectively support children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development; and, are accessible to all children, particularly those facing barriers, risks, or challenges to their healthy development and success. The state’s OEC also provides home visiting services, funding and training to support families raising young children to ensure the children’s health, well-being, and positive growth and development, and to prevent child abuse or neglect.

Agency commissioners, early childhood education and development advocates, parents, caregivers and other stakeholders played a role in designing the structure and focus of the new agency. The planning of the OEC was made possible by support from the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, the Early Childhood Collaborative funders, and the Early Childhood Alliance. With the mission to support all young children in their development by ensuring that early childhood policy, funding, and services strengthen the critical role that families, providers, educators, and communities play in a child’s life, the OEC will strengthen programming and provider training as well as improve access to early care and education programs for young children and their families.

Updated July 2019

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