New ‘parent cabinet’ hopes to elevate caregivers of young children statewide
A parent-led advisory group will work with the state Office of Early Childhood to improve programs, policies and laws related to young children and their families.
The Office of Early Childhood oversees Care 4 Kids, a program that helps pay for child care costs in moderate- to low-income families; state home visits to expectant parents and caregivers of children under the age of 5; licensing for centers that care for children; and the birth-to-3 program for children requiring developmental intervention.
“I am grateful that this group of parents from across Connecticut are dedicating their time to ensure that families with young children have a voice in their state government,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “Their input will help shape the policies that are directly impacting families.”
Beth Bye, commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, said the partnership “will ensure that policies are family-driven and not just program-driven.”
Members commit to a two-year term and are paid a $25 hourly stipend, which is federally funded, for 48 hours of work each year.
Kaitlyn Heffernan, Stratford
Bianca Shinn-Desras, Stamford
Steven Cousin, New Haven
Symone Maguire, Hamden
Ruth-Ann Bucknor, Middletown
Marinda Monfilston, Cromwell
Caitlin McNamara, Manchester
Carla Abdo-Katsipis, West Hartford
Krysta Chambers, West Hartford
Christina Augliera, Torrington
Maria Vargas, Danbury
Joshua Vaughn, Naugatuck
Ivoni Montes, Wethersfield
Casey Russo, Meriden
Nine members are parents with young children aged 5 and below who use Office of Early Childhood support, including the Care 4 Kids subsidy, home visiting and the birth-to-3 program.
“Parents and caregivers are raising children day in and day out, and the work of the parent cabinet helps to uplift these voices to the point where they can bring ideas, solutions and issues regarding child care to the state level,” said Symone Maguire, a resident of Hamden and mom of two who will serve on the cabinet.
The cabinet can be reached at OEC.ParentCabinet@ct.gov for comments or concerns.