A Tale of Two Southingtons – Early Childhood Statistics

Posted on January 19th, 2017

Some of Southington’s State Legislators held a Town Hall meeting last night and Joanne Kelleher, the ECCS Director, was there representing the town’s young children. She gave a brief presentation that highlighted the demographics of the town from an early childhood perspective and asked for support of early childhood issues. Here is a more information about those demographics.

The ECCS tracks statistics about young children in their Community Plan . The data included in this Plan is the most recent available. It showcases “headline indicators” that the ECCS is tracking to see how the programs and support services that are being implemented throughout the community are improving the lives and education of Southington’s young children.

The annual birth rate in Southington has ranged from 469 in 2004 to 332 in 2013, and has been overall declining over the last 10 years. But the Southington School system is seeing an influx of families with school age children moving into town due to the reasonable rents and quality of the schools. There are currently 6,605 youth enrolled in Southington Public Schools, 405 in kindergarten.

Embedded throughout the ECCS Community Plan, the data shows that an increasing number of Southington families are facing challenges, including economic difficulties and language barriers resulting in what has been called “two Southingtons.”

  • For example, within the Education result is the headline indicator: Children with a Preschool Experience. The 2014 data shows that the number of children in Southington with a preschool experience is at 79.6%. The ECCS would like to see this number be closer to 100%. The research that supports this data indicates that a rising number of families are not enrolling their children in preschool and citing the cost as the major barrier. Meanwhile, many of the private preschools and childcare centers in the community have vacancies while those that offer subsidies to families have waiting lists. The cost of childcare in CT can be as much as in-state college tuition.
  • In 2010 there were 1,152 single parent families.
  • The percent of Children Grades K-3 Receiving Free and Reduced Lunch in Southington has increased from 8% in 2009 to 18% in 2014.
  • Children through age 18 qualify for federal Medicaid health insurance coverage if their family’s income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. In 2006, there were 1,181 children who qualified for Husky A, in 2015 there were 1,918.
  • The parents of Southington school children speak over 26 languages from countries all over the globe.

Southington has four Title 1 schools receiving federal funds for Title 1 students. Title 1 is the largest federally funded educational program. The program provides supplemental funds to school districts to assist schools with the highest student concentrations of poverty to meet school educational goals.

Care 4 Kids helps low to moderate income families in Connecticut pay for child care costs. This program is sponsored by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. Here are utilization numbers for the towns covered by our State Senator as of June 2016, prior to eligibility cuts to the program, and October 2016, the most recent data available. The ECCS is a member of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. A copy of their 2017 legislative priorities, including reopening the Care 4 Kids program, is here.

At the end of the evening the State Legislators were given a package that contained all of this information and more details about the work of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington.

If you would like to learn more about issues of childcare and poverty at the State of Connecticut level, read this report, The State of Early Childhood 2015, from the Connecticut Voice for Children.