Symposium 2024 Feature Sessions & Plenary Speakers

Amplifying Parent Voices: Empowering Change in Child Care Policymaking

Session Time: Sunday, May 19 from 2:30 – 3:45

Learn how Connecticut is standing up the only official body of parent child care advisors in the nation to maximize its ability to build and maintain a child care system that best meets the needs of all of its children and families across race, background and circumstance — and how you can apply lessons learned to your own parent advocacy!

Advancing Child Care: A Perspective from Government Officials

Session Time: Monday, May 20 from 10 – 11:30AM

Join Administration for Children and Families officials for a discussion about recent federal efforts to improve child care policies and support the early care and education workforce. Following updates, participants will be invited to ask questions and share perspectives from their state and local experiences.

Making the Ideal Child Care Real: Are We Ready?

Session Time: Monday, May 19 from 3:30 – 5PM

We know the child care system is broken. While the threads we’ve used to patch together the frail and fragmented child care system are unraveling, public attention and solutions are increasing.  So, what does the ideal child care system look like and what will it take to get there? This session will share insights from the WeVision EarlyEd initiative and examine what families, educators, and administrators want to see in their ideal child care system. We will also discuss what it will take to make their ideal child care real and the crucial questions standing in our way.  

Child Care as an Economic & Critical Support to Prevent Child Welfare System Involvement

Session Time: Wednesday, May 22 from 11AM – 12:15PM

There is an ever-growing body of science related to how economic and concrete supports can prevent or avert the unnecessary activation and deployment of child protective services and the use of foster care. This presentation is a synthesis and translation of that evidence with an emphasis on child care to inform program and policy choices.


Lessons Learned and What’s Next for CCDBG Reauthorization

Plenary Time: Sunday, May 19 from 4 – 5:15PM

A decade has passed since the last reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which reshaped federal support for child care.  What led to the success of that historic reauthorization, how far have we come, and where do we go next?  Is CCDBG still our best vehicle for moving toward high-quality, equitable access to child care for families across America? The leaders who helped shape the 2014 CCDBG reauthorization success will explore our greatest opportunities now to make real progress, and what lessons from the past can guide our future strategy. 

Empowering Voices: Reflections on the experiences of early educators in the “Make A Circle” documentary

Plenary Time: Monday, May 20 from 8:30 – 9:30AM

This groundbreaking documentary, crafted by an award-winning filmmaking team, unveils the story of resilient child care providers who rise from the challenges of the pandemic and continue advocating for change. Make a Circle closely follows the directors and teachers at three child care programs center over several years, capturing the magic within their classrooms, their personal struggles, and their unwavering commitment to a childcare system that had already been pushed to its limits. 

A stirring portrayal of life as early childhood educators, this film is a powerful call to action for a society that must reevaluate and revitalize its approach to the education of its youngest citizens. Don’t miss this groundbreaking documentary and join the grassroots movement. 

Partnering Together to Protect the Health of Young Families

Plenary Time: Wednesday, May 22 from 8 – 9AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is protecting health and improving lives in every community. Supporting young families is a priority for CDC that focuses on upstream prevention so that children and families have what they need to learn, grow and build lifelong healthy behaviors. Child care providers are critical partners as we work to advance health equity and protect the health of young families and children as a team. This plenary session will focus on addressing health through early education as an essential strategy to create healthy progress for children, families and early educators.

Building the Early Childhood Mental Health Continuum 

Plenary Time: Wednesday, May 22 from 9:30 – 10:45AM

There is solid research that health inputs in early life create lasting health outcomes. This also allows us to focus on the overall well-being of early educators, the most important builders of physical and emotional health outside of parents.

Dr. Charlene Wong of the CDC and Dr. Walter Gilliam of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute will speak about building the mental health and well-being continuum of supports for young children and early educators.

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