For Governor Lamont, CT lawmakers at the General Assembly, 2022 is the year of the child

At the Connecticut General Assembly, 2022 is the Year of the Child, as two years of the COVID pandemic have exposed weaknesses in youth services that lawmakers are poised to fix.

Lawmakers are currently considering several major pieces of legislation, ranging from a focus on urban trauma, to better mental-and-behavioral health services and improving air quality in schools.

Governor Ned Lamontin the same way Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, have all proposed initiatives that would require tens of millions of dollars in funding to try to undo the damage that has been done during the pandemic, or decades, if there is trauma among people hurt served, young people from the city center.

“For some communities, it’s just normal to have mental health issues,” Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said during a public audience Friday before a joint meeting of the Public health and children’s committees.

“It’s just normal that we pass on trauma,” Winfield said during a morning portion of the all-day virtual hearing. “And yet, science and the way we operate have been slow to recognize this. You know, the schools we send kids to that are supposed to be safe in their communities are not because we send kids to schools where many of their peers go through the same trauma that they go through when they go home or go to school. ”

The stresses of homelessness, hunger, and domestic and urban violence loom large in the lives of troubled children.

“And wherever they go, it’s there,” Winfield said. “It’s complex. It doesn’t stop. Remember that while we are doing this there are communities that will not respond to what we consider to be the normal issue of trauma because it is an event or a case and what It’s theirs, it’s a lifelong trauma.

“There are family crises that we know of that have a root of trauma,” said Vannessa Dorantes, commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families, which plans a new initiative to address the issue. “And then we also know, from a systems perspective, that there is community or racialized trauma.” Among the pending legislative proposals is a behavioral cabinet for children.

“The COVID pandemic has exacerbated what we know to be an emerging behavioral health crisis in children,” she told lawmakers on Friday. “Isolation, disruption to learning, family stress, reduced economic stability, food and housing insecurity, lack of access to timely community supports have resulted in a demand for services that has exceeded labor capacity.

In addition to supporting mental health programs, Republicans, who are a 23-13 minority in the Senate and 97-54 in the House of Representatives, have proposed tougher criminal penalties for some minors.

“We need to ensure the application of the law and our justice system have the tools to keep everyone safe,” said Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford. “We also need action to prevent crime, to end the cycle of youth injustice and the lack of opportunities that push people, especially young people, towards crime. We cannot ignore that the Connecticut is dead last in job growth and income growth and Connecticut’s economy is failing our children and our cities, we need to build a ladder out of poverty.

Winfield said last week that it was possible to make compromises on some youth crime proposals, including the possibility of electronic monitoring of teenagers awaiting trial.

Earlier in the week, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker led a group of mayors across the state calling for a five-year, billion-dollar program to care for children, train them for jobs, and provide them with job opportunities and safe spaces.

With a projected budget surplus of $1.9 billion – coincidentally in an election year – there is a bipartisan legislature willingness to acknowledge the isolation children have faced over the past two years or more.

For State Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, gun violence is also a major issue for children. “In my lifetime, I’ve seen it erupt again and again here,” Moore said Thursday during a committee-level confirmation hearing for Acting Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani. “We always seem to put a Band-Aid on it.”

She said during a recent roundtable with inner-city youth from across the state, young adults spoke candidly about the trauma of neighborhood shootings that perpetuate the cycle of violence. “They can’t even explain why they’re acting,” Moore said.

“It’s such a disturbing topic and I think you’ve brought up such an important point because there are so many survivors and observers of gun violence who may not actually be the recipients of live ammunition, and yet the damage done is far beyond what we can really conceptualize, I think,” Juthani said. She pointed out that there is an injury prevention group within the Department of Public Health that focuses on that, and Governor Ned Lamont’s Budget includes initiatives to reduce gun violence.

“When a young person is engaged in criminal activity, it is often a manifestation of deep, unmet mental or behavioral health needs: exposure to repeated trauma,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Friday. , to lawmakers, citing studies indicating that childhood trauma is “off the charts” among those who end up in the criminal justice system. He stressed the importance of better health care mental health in juvenile detention centres.

Last week, legislative committees were still agreeing on concepts for public hearings, including the Clean Air Initiative, which the Public Health Committee agreed on Thursday to raise for a public hearing in March, as the Legislature heads for its first , adjournment on May 4. Educators across the state have complained that most schools don’t have the right kind of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to help eliminate airborne viruses such as COVID.

“We have indoor air quality standards for businesses like pet stores to make sure the animals stay there healthy. It makes it all the more shocking that there are no such regulations in our schools,” said Senator Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, a doctor who is co-chair of the Legislative Public Health Committee, which will set a hearing date on the proposal once nonpartisan lawyers from the General Assembly tell him assigned a bill number.

“The pandemic has shown us that we simply cannot delay cleaning up HVAC systems in our schools,” said state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, the committee’s other co-chair. filtration units don’t have to be expensive and we need better protocols for efficient maintenance.

[email protected] Twitter: @KenDixonCT

Source link