Our Children Deserve Better:
Today along with 125 of Danbury’s working families, we received the troubling news that CACD’s Community Action Early Learning Center has lost its accreditation and is in jeopardy of losing its funding.
CACD’s program is supposed to provide Danbury families with the childcare and early childhood education that they desperately need. Parents need safe and affordable childcare so that they may head into work knowing that their children are cared for by trusted professionals. Our families also need accredited and effective early childhood education – so that our City’s children are prepared for future schooling and to be the leaders of tomorrow.
We are deeply concerned by this news, but not surprised as it speaks to an ongoing and unraveling reality within that organization. Presently, the CACD’s Action Early Learning Center services 125 children, from the ages of 18 months to 6 years old from low-income families. As a result of its loss of accreditation, CACD’s Program will lose funding for 91 kindergarten readiness children. These are 91 families who will be left without childcare and without crucial learning instruction that was supposed to be there for them in preparation for entering the school system. As the City’s “anti-poverty” agency – CACD has failed these children, their families and ultimately to provide the services our community needs.
What’s especially troubling is in the reasons why and the alarming conditions that under which the loss of accreditation are reported. The loss of accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children is due to two separate “serious violations”–incidents involving the physical discipline of a child by staff, and failure to report sexual abuse.
These reported incidents raise serious questions in the manner incidents are handled, reported, investigated, documented and communicated to the parent community. Failure to do so represents a serious breach of trust between families and the agency caring for their children. As a result of these incidents, although still licensed as a day center, pose serious health and safety questions about the children placed in their care. They Kindergarten readiness children enrolled in the program will not and probably have not received the appropriate child development and learning curriculum instruction that parents expected when their children were enrolled in the program.
Particularly troubling is that CACD has known of its loss of accreditation since October – they had ample time to prepare and inform parents, so they may have sought alternate arrangement(s). However, they choose to inform parents in January 2014. Their lack of transparency and inability to communicate and be forthcoming with their parent community now leaves 91 families out in cold this week, with no childcare. They’ve disclosed no plans to alleviate the concerns, no plan to address where these 91 children will now go or the fact that parents will have to miss work in seeking alternate plans.
As an agency with a long-standing tradition and commitment to serving this community, we say enough! There is no “righting this ship” and definitely not on the backs of hard working families and their children. The Hispanic Center of Danbury will continue to advocate for and highlight the social injustice that is continued by the same “anti-poverty” agency invested in that is supposed to alleviate burden and not cause it. We are here to serve these families with the help they need. Families may contact us and for assistance in finding an alternate and acceptable form of childcare, assistance with the Care 4 Kids application and information about accredited early childhood education and child development instruction. We will also educate families so that they may decipher for themselves what exactly this loss of accreditation means for their child and link them to the necessary community resources available.
Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury, Inc.
Multicultural Center of Western CT
Interim Executive Director