CT Democrats call for free pre-K, expanded mental health options in schools

Connecticut Democrats want to offer free pre-K to all children starting at 3 years old.

News 12 Staff

Feb 15, 2022, 10:23 PM

Updated 890 days ago


The pandemic has made child care more expensive, but there is a new push to make school cheaper and safer.
Connecticut Democrats want to offer free pre-K to all children starting at 3 years old.
"Universal pre-K is associated with better outcomes for the children. The long-term implications are huge, and this investment truly changes the trajectory of our children," said state Sen. Saud Anwar.
The Democrats' plan also calls for more social workers in schools and expanded mental health options. That includes allowing virtual therapy sessions with out-of-state providers.
"A lot of folks out there who have insurance...and who could access resources out of school, are having trouble accessing that," said state Sen. Matt Lesser.
Lawmakers also want to expand lifesaving Narcan in schools. Every teacher and nurse would be trained to use it. It comes after a 13-year-old fatally overdosed at a Hartford school.
Republicans are calling for the same thing - plus tougher fentanyl penalties.
GOP leaders said Tuesday, "We look forward to working hand in hand with any and all lawmakers who recognize that Connecticut must pursue a better way."
With federal funds flowing and a state budget surplus, many of these ideas are expected to pass.
"The cracks have always been in our communities, but the pandemic has exposed those cracks and deepened them even more than ever," said state Sen. Bob Duff.
New York City already offers universal pre-K. Democrats do not have a target date to offer it in Connecticut or a price tag, yet.

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