Braided & Blended Funding in CT Can Help Advance Child Health & Wellness
At Clifford Beers, we are concerned first and foremost with one thing -- getting children and families the support they need to live lives of health and wellness.
That may seem like a pretty straightforward task, but executing it requires that a lot of things work, not the least of which is state and federal funding. As the Connecticut General Assembly prepares to review a state budget proposal from first-term Governor Ned Lamont, I ask that lawmakers keep the real goal in mind -- quality of life for us all.
So many families rely on state funding for services we provide to heal from trauma, and without those services those same folks face significant social, emotional, and health challenges. If compassion doesn't persuade anyone on these points, perhaps economics will. The financial cost of untreated childhood/family trauma plays out across all sectors: social services, medical care, education, and justice, to name a few. Data from other jurisdiction on this point is helpful. Click here for one report (Alaska) and click here for another (Tennessee).
If recent budget negotiations are any indication, despite Democrats holding the governor's seat and the Connecticut General Assembly, passing a budget will be difficult given the depth of the state's obligations. Perhaps it is time, then, for lawmakers to explore "braided and blended" funding.
The idea is this: define a problem, and then pool resources for solutions that multiple stakeholders are trying to achieve. School performance is a good example. The Departments of Education, Social Services, and Public Health are stakeholders. Why not draw funding from all three agencies and take a streamlined yet multifaceted approach to problem solving that involves addressing social determinants of health that prohibit optimal school performance? Trust us when we say it works! With some private foundation funding we have been able to prove the approach, but the scale is limited to about a dozen schools in New Haven. All students and all districts deserve that support, but it will take smarter spending to get it to them.
All Connecticut residents including, of course, our elected officials, envision a health, productive citizenry. That will require funding for necessary care and services in a time where funding is hard to find. We appreciate all legislators' efforts to explore new strategies that preserve the care so many of our neighbors need.