Thursday, September 8, 2011


PHOTO ABOVE: Parents, students, staff and labor and community supporters marched from the CT legislative office building to the Department of Developmental Services' (DSS) today to protest cuts to the Early Connections Birth to Three program. [See additional photos at the end of this article.]

The Department of Developmental Services (DSS) "Early Connections" Birth to Three program is a primary source of intervention and care for infants and toddlers with special needs in local communities across Connecticut. The program was established under the Unified Schools District #3 in 19789 as the first of its type in Connecticut, and has since served more than 40,000 children.

Barbara Carlson, mother of two Early Connections graduates noted, "Early Connections enables families to become strong advocates for their children. To eliminate this program would deny many families the dream of seeing their children realize their potential, the very basic desire of any parent." The program currently services about 250 children and their families. The staff has been notified that they are no longer able to accept new admissions and the program will be permanently closed.

In 2009, DDS stopped accepting referrals to Early Connections, and even closed new admissions for nearly six months. The move was so costly that the former commissioner testified to the legislature at the time that it contributed to dragging the department $ 9 million deeper in deficit.

As far back as 2006, program administrators acknowledged that fiscal burden of shutting-down Early Connections. It a report to the department, they assessed a cost of between $87,610.00 and $116,813.00 to shift each teacher's caseload, based on serving between 12 and 16 children, to private contractors.

With the increase in the service demand for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental delays, not is not the time to limit choices for Connecticut families.

CALL GOVERNOR MALLOY'S OFFICE TODAY AT (800) 406-1527 OR Twitter @GovMalloyOffice or email from the governor's webpage at

KEY POINTS: 1. Early Connections is Connecticut's original publicly operated Birth to Three program and has been nationally recognized for the quality of its intervention and school readiness services for more than 30 years.

2. Early connections is the primary source of intervention and care for children under three years old with delays and special needs, including children with Autism, in local communities across the state.

3. In 2009, the DDS Commissioner testified to the legislature that outsourcing the state's publicly-operated Early connections program helped drag the agency at least $9 million deeper in deficit.

Posted by Tom Connolly

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