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Dave Santis, PhD
Children's Enrichment Fund
phone extension: 501
CCC featured on West Hartford Community Television
October 11, 2012
Convenant to Care was one of the non-profits featured on Out and About with Diane, a show produced by West Hartford Community Television. Click on this link and watch the video. The CCC portion starts at 12:41.
SI Financial Group Foundation, Inc. Donates to Covenant to Care
January 25, 2012
Willimantic, CT (JANUARY 25, 2012)Convenant to Care was one of ten charities awarded SI Financial Group Foundation, Inc. biannual distribution of grants.
Established in 2005 in connection with Savings Institute Bank & Trust’s minority stock offering, the SI Financial Group Foundation provides funding to support charitable causes within the Bank’s market areas and its neighboring communities.
LIBERTY BANK DONATES $5,000 TO COVENANT TO CARE, COLLECTS WARM CLOTHING FOR CHILDREN IN NEED
December 20, 2011
On December 19, Liberty Bank presented a $5,000 check on behalf of its customers to Bloomfield-based nonprofit Covenant to Care for Children. The organization will use the donation to buy holiday gift cards for teen-agers in the care of the state who are neglected, abused or at-risk.
“We want to show our sincere appreciation for our customers and communities and at the same time help local children who might otherwise be forgotten during this holiday season,” said Chandler J. Howard, president and CEO, Liberty Bank.
To supplement the monetary gift, the bank also held a children’s hat, mitten and scarf drive at its 46 locations throughout central, eastern and shoreline Connecticut. In all, employees and customers donated over 715 items of warm clothing, many of them handmade, which were also turned over to Covenant to Care for Children.
Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with more than $3.4 billion in assets and 43 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services. Rated outstanding by federal regulators on its community reinvestment efforts, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement. For more, go to www.liberty-bank.com or Facebook.
Covenant to Care for Children mobilizes and channels the generosity of caring and faithful people to advocate for, mentor and provide direct assistance to Connecticut’s children and youth who are neglected, abused or at-risk.
November 9, 2011
I am very pleased to let you know Covenant to Care for children is fully operational once again! Like you we had a very long week but now we are back on track, all systems are a go.
Please think back to how cold you or your friends were at different times this past week and contemplate that many of the children who are served by Covenant to Care for Children feel this chill and suffer hardship every day, not just for a little while. I know when my lights came on at home last night, I felt a renewal of hope and lifting of my spirit.
As you restock your refrigerator, think about the families that are now exceeding their limited budgets to do the same. These families are making choices every day between food, shelter, heat, clothing, all the basic things. This past week is a rare opportunity to allow yourself a moment of true understanding what it is like to depend on others, conserve your resources, to share everything you have with others in the same situation, and to make tough choices to keep your children healthy and safe.
We are in very real need of twin size blankets, but we will take all sizes right now. We need twin size bed sheet sets too. Warm coats for children and hoodies for teens are in very high demand. Please help us keep our kids warm and healthy.
Holiday gifts, winter warmth, and dollars all help us serve our children.
The staff met on Monday to discuss what our five programs are experiencing and everyone agreed there is an increase in requests for both our standard items like the coats and blankets mentioned as well as infant supplies, car seats, clothes, groceries and more. We are also witnessing the greatest number of Holiday gift requests ever!
We here at Covenant to Care for Children have the same commitment we have every winter holiday season. A covenant really, it is pretty simple. We will say yes to every request, somehow every child’s need brought to us will be met. We believe in the miracle of the season. We believe in you. Please contribute what you can and please let your friends and neighbors know that there is an opportunity to help through Covenant to Care for Children.
Holiday gifts, winter warmth, and dollars all help us serve our children.
You can learn more by calling CCC Associate Director, Dave Santis, 860.243-1806 x13.
Celebrate the abundance we all can share. Celebrate the season. Celebrate life and those with whom we share its gifts.
Caryl Hallberg, Executive Director
New Awareness & Insights from the Faithworks Fellowship Program & Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Resolution Workshops
August 1, 2010
In June and July I have had the great privilege of taking part in two unique and amazing programs. The first run through the Conference of Churches was a week-long intensive program of speakers, politicians, and group projects.
The FaithWorks Fellowship brought together 30 leaders from across Connecticut who are both faith leaders and human service providers. We spent our days at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building in a learning environment of high level speakers on the subject of faith, service and nonprofit administration along with open dialogue between participants. Lunch and dinner every day brought us State legislators and community leaders who spoke to us on the hard issues facing our State and the World as well as offering inspiration and a vision of leadership. If this had been all the program offered that would have been enough but there was so much more to our week.
The 30 leadership participants lived in an UHart dorm for the week of Fellowship. Every evening after dinner we would come back to the dorm around 9:00 PM and gather in small groups in our various dorm rooms. Together we worked on our individual projects, which we had set for ourselves as programmatic goals for the session. We helped one another with sentence structure, clarification of ideas, statistical information and just plain thinking through complex problems. We would work late, late into the night and so shared delivery pizza and chicken wings, wine, laughter that made our sides hurt, and our spirits.
As the week drew to a close dorm room parties replaced the hard work and we became friends. Staid faith leaders let their hair down a bit, culturally diverse folk learned, appreciated, and laughed at one another’s language and assumptions. We said grace over midnight snacks; I was personally given a joint blessing of healing and health in the dorm hall by a conservative Christian preacher and a radical Rabbi.
Ultimately, the practical benefits of this program will have their life span and we will move on, but the growth in our spirits, the genuine friendships that formed, and the understanding that there is great good in all parts of our world, even between people who fundamentally disagree, will stay with the 30 of us forever.
Shortly after the FaithWorks Fellowship program ended, I began another week long program introducing me to Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Resolution. As part of the every evening program we were introduced to the structured concept developed and used by Martin Luther King Jr and his fellow civil rights leaders of the time.
The power of nonviolent action is well documented but learning the actual structure of the actions, going beyond the philosophical into the discipline and planning is an amazing process and gives one a deep reserve of power to face almost any situation and to build an activist movement whose ultimate success is all but assured. I saw familiar faces, and respected colleagues during the Kingian week. I also had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know new colleagues and hearing about their work. Out of these interactions I am in the process of building a partnership on a project that will bring an awareness of food production, seed to dinner to one of the most isolated neighborhoods in Hartford. Our role is in the inclusion of children and youth in the process and bringing in other partners such as local faith communities to play a role.
The greatest evening of the Kingian Institute was having the great privilege of meeting and listening to Dr. Bernard LaFayette. To sit at the knee of great history and listen to his tale, interwoven with practical knowledge and techniques along with intimate gossipy tidbits about the greatest names in the civil rights movement was an indescribable joy for me. I felt triple blessed to have been given this opportunity.
These few weeks brought such clarity to our work here at Covenant to Care for Children. I was given so much that I did not even know I needed, which will enable me to work with that much greater assurance of success that one day we will achieve our vision that all Connecticut’s children have caring families and safe places to live, and all people of faith demonstrate their own personal commitment to the welfare of children.
All we need is to keep working with our vision firmly in our heads and hearts.
Speaker’s Children in the Recession Bill Passes in the House – Call Your Senator – Ask that H.B. 5360 Comes up in the Senate for a Vote!
April 28, 2010
Great News! The Speaker’s bill, H.B. 5360 – An Act Concerning Children in the Recession passed in the House Tuesday night by a 137-7 vote. Of the 7 no votes, one was a Democrat, Rep. Shawn Johnston. Many Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill. The fact that Republicans voted in favor of this bill is significant and shows widespread recognition of the importance to protect children from the ravaging impact of the recession.
The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote. The session ends May 5 so it is imperative that H.B. 5360 comes up for a vote in the Senate as quickly as possible!
Call your Senator and ask that H.B. 5360 be taken up on the Senate floor for a vote. Ask your Senator to talk with Senate Leadership about the critical importance of passing this bill in the Senate. If you have time, calling Senate President Don Williams and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney would be very helpful!
Senate Democrats: 860-240-8600 or 800-842-1420
Senate Republicans: 860-240-8800 or 800-842-1421
Background and Summary of the Bill
In response to the deep recession, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan created a Task Force on Children in the Recession. The Task Force is co-chaired by Representatives Diana Urban and Karen Jarmoc; both have worked very hard and provided compelling arguments tonight on the House Floor.
The Task Force has met frequently since January to listen to experts on issues such as child care, nutrition, housing, health care, and education and job training. The Task Force held public hearings around the state to hear from Connecticut’s residents who are struggling to make ends meet in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Based on the findings, H.B. 5360 was drafted and heard before three committees. It passed in the Select Committee on Children, 9-3, on a party line vote. The bill passed in the Human Services Committee 13-6, with one Democrat Rep. Shawn Johnston in opposition. It then passed out of the Appropriations Committee, 37-13, on a party line vote.
The bill does many things that will help children and families. Below are highlights of components of the bill:
Support children’s advocacy. Contact your Senator and urge for passage of H.B. 5360 in the Senate!
Senate Democrats: 860-240-8600 or 800-842-1420
Senate Republicans: 860-240-8800 or 800-842-1421
April 9—11, 2010
Inspire Change, is a call to action for all of us to change the way we think about the prevention of child abuse and neglect and focus on actions that protect children right from the start, so child abuse and neglect never occur.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. We are asking you to make a choice to join us in finding the spirit and strength to end the cycle of child abuse in Connecticut. We are asking all our faith-based partners to join each other and us in offering a special prayer during your services the second weekend in April.
Our appeal is that, together the members of all 240 plus faith communities in covenants with Covenant to Care for Children be given the strength to end the cycle of child abuse; that we be given the wisdom to support the children and their families in ways that make them stronger and healthier; that our legislators open their hearts and minds to the plight of the most helpless of our citizens; that everyone in Connecticut open their eyes and spirits to see the vulnerability of our children.
Imagine the power of more than 240 faith communities offering a single prayer to end child abuse!”
Serving in Times of Catastrophic Disaster
January 19, 2010
There are times when epic tragedy strikes and we must consider our role as an organization in light of such an occurrence, even when it does not directly affect us. The earthquake in Haiti, and the resulting overwhelming level of damage left in its wake is one of these events.
Covenant to Care for Children is about serving the children of Connecticut. We start at home when we consider where to put my efforts and generosity. When considering catastrophic disaster though, one must step back and consider what we would wish others to do if our Connecticut children were faced with such challenges as the children of Haiti now face?
Our vision states that we wish “all people of faith demonstrate their own personal commitment to the welfare of children.”
Our mission states that we work to “mobilize and channel the generosity of caring and faithful people.”
Our adopted values are:
• Responsive to needs
• Motivated by faith
• Respectful of human dignity
• Caring toward all
We believe that it is within Covenant to Care for Children’s role to use the resources we have to communicate with our partners across the state, sharing information about the various legitimate relief efforts that are taking place here in Connecticut for the purpose of alleviating the suffering of Haiti’s children and families in this impossible situation.
To this end we will use our social media outlets to recommend organizations that we know are doing the work that needs to be done for Haiti at the highest level of accountability and impact and we will offer small guidance to our friends on ways they can best respond to help the people of Haiti who are in such immediate and desperate need.
If your faith-based or community organization would like to share what you are doing through our network please email me directly with the information.
All of Connecticut’s children continue to need your support, but right now the children of Haiti are in overwhelmingly desperate need. Covenant to Care for Children believes that our donors and friends have enough heart to respond to all the needs of children regardless of location.
Caryl Hallberg, CEO
This letter is used with the permission of the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits
October 1, 2009
As you know, there is currently a national debate about healthcare reform taking place across the country. This is an important debate and one that nonprofits must participate in. Healthcare reform is too important of an issue for both our employees and consumers, who cannot afford for us to be silent.
Please take a moment to read this recent article from the New York Times – Nonprofit Groups Upset at Exclusion From Health Bills. Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, is quoted discussing meetings that members had with federal lawmakers in Washington, DC recently (which CT Nonprofits’ Executive Director Ron Cretaro and Public Policy Director Liza Andrews participated in) where congressional staff were consistently alluding to the fact that they never really “thought about nonprofits as employers before.” This is a problem that puts nonprofit providers at serious risk of being excluded from the final piece of legislation.
Last week, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) released a modified chairman’s mark of health reform legislation that would extend eligibility for small business tax credits to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt employers by permitting nonprofits to apply modified credits to certain payroll taxes. There also appears to be movement in the House with some members circulating a letter asking for support among colleagues to include nonprofits in the health reform package.
Postive steps are taking place and we must continue our advocacy. We need to ensure a strong and unified voice that is heard clearly by our elected officials! As Michael Weeks from the Massachusetts Providers Council recently noted, “Collectively, we should be compelled to inject ourselves into the debate. Ethically, to do nothing is to do harm.”
Please take a moment to send your U.S. Senator and Representative an email asking them to include nonprofits in their efforts around healthcare reform.
Click the link below to log in and send your message:
Caryl Hallberg, Executive Director
Covenant to Care for Children, Inc
120 Mountain Ave.
Bloomfield, CT 06002-5003
You did it!
September 11, 2009
The CT budget was voted on and passed by the legislature and they listened to your concerns about funding for Covenant to Care for Children. Our line item remains in the budget. We will never know if a Rell signed budget would have included CCC but we were not on the list of line item vetoes the Governor had planned.
We heard from many of the legislators you contacted and many of you sent us the replies you received from them. The support and understanding was there in almost every reply and we had some strong advocates in the legislative body on both sides of the political spectrum.
This would not have happened without you speaking up. It was your actions and repeated calls, emails and letters that made the difference. You heard our plea and got active, you organized and you did outreach within your community and circle of friends.
I know you must have gotten tired of hearing from me, asking again and again for your action but it was all about you. Your elected representatives really do listen. Bringing your voice to the conversation by expressing your thoughts clearly and politely works miracles.
You did it – and we thank you, and on behalf of the tens of thousands of children we serve each year, I thank you. I also thank you at a very personal level for your understanding, support and amazing effort.
My promise to you is that I will keep talking to our elected leadership, explaining who our volunteers and supporters are and the amazing benefits you provide to the children of Connecticut. I promise that with your continued support CCC will find a way to provide for every child that comes to us in need, that we will together change the present and the future for the better.
Thank you – you did it.
August 20, 2009 – 02:15 pm
Help CCC with School Assistance Requests —
It’s So Easy to Do and Means So Much to the Kids!
The children we serve cannot get what they need from any other source. The social workers that make requests to us are not just from DCF but from nonprofits throughout the state of Connecticut.
We have already approached last year’s epic levels of need for back-to-school uniforms and the requests just keep coming.
School is two weeks away and we have around 300 outstanding requests for backpacks stuffed with school supplies!
If your civic, faith, or business group is looking for a service project please consider the bookbag project – you’ll find the list of bag contents on our webpage
Please if you are doing or have done a bookbag project get the finished product to our Bloomfield office as soon as possible!
If you could help support the back-to-school effort with a cash donation this is the moment. We will need to augment the bags produced by our volunteers with bags we purchase and fill with school supplies. The cost of one school outfit is $50.00. Please make an immediate donation to help us with this effort.
Last year school had been in session two weeks before we had gotten every child into school with the right clothes and supplies. Our children can’t wait for the adult issues of budgets and economic downturns to be resolved. Their needs are immediate and critical to their tomorrow.
Please help. Thank you so very much.
August 20, 2009 – 1:45 pm
Action Still Needed – There is Still No Budget Decision
Connecticut is one of two states still without a budget. Over this very long period of budget planning we have asked you to write or call your state legislator, the CT political leadership, and Governor Rell’s office. We must ask you to do another push of emails and phone calls. Please do not hesitate! Focus on the Governor’s office please so they understand the situation but do not forget the leaders of the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Caucus. Your voice can make the difference for 27,000 children. I know you are weary of this message, I promise you I am weary of sending it to you with this call for action, but it is the only way we can communicate the importance of what we do and the support behind it. Please email or call right now!
The Office of Fiscal Analysis has confirmed that the Appropriations Committee is still recommending funding in the amount of $166K for Covenant to Care for Children. This still represents a $6.80 return on every dollar the state provides CCC. It still represents a $39 million dollar savings to the state because so much of what we do allows families to stay together or reunite; we remove the children from the state rolls.
The Governor, however, has continued her proposal to eliminate funding to Covenant to Care for Children.
I cannot say where negotiations stand now and whether or not Democrats are agreeing to any cuts above what they proposed in July (of which CCC were not included). We must keep the pressure on legislators to continue funding CCC and on the Governor expressing your disappointment that she has chosen not to fund CCC and what that means for our community and those we serve.
Please visit our website (see links below) to learn more and to communicate with the legislative leaders, Rell’s office and your representatives. We are already approaching last year’s back-to-school clothes requests and if you remember those requests increased 1500% last year. We have around 300 outstanding requests for back-to school backpacks. Please do not wait another moment, take action now and spread the word so others take action.
We will succeed in this only if we have your help! The children cannot wait.
May 29, 2009 – 11:00 AM
STATE BUDGET CUTS – URGENT ACTION REQUIRED
Covenant to Care for Children has been cut from this budget, see page 35. Timing is very tight. Please mobilize again to all legislators. Please write letters to the editor and contact all media with whom you have a personal relationship. You will be receiving our email blasts with information detailing our contributions to the state of Connecticut and its children. Please use these as your talking points. Please ask everyone you know to help with this effort. The only way we will stay in the budget is if we can show the support of the people.
Email addresses for legislators can be found at the following links:
Governor M. Jodi Rell
Executive Office of the Governor
210 Capitol Avenue Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Greater Hartford Area: 860-566-4840
Toll Free: 800-406-1527TDD: 860-524-7397
Suggested Text to Email Legislators
Here is a recent letter of support.
Here are other sample letters of support.
Please feel free to use as your own or modify.
Dear Representative/Senator _______________:
Covenant to Care for Children (CCC) is a non-profit that serves abused and underprivileged children in the state, by providing such essential items as beds and clothing to respond their most basic and essential needs.
I am writing to voice my opposition to Governor Rell’s most recent budget proposal, which call for the elimination of CCC as a DCF budget line item. While I understand that a number of difficult and painful decisions must be made in order to balance the budget in these troubled economic times, I implore you to oppose this particular budget cut, which will harm one of our neediest and most helpless populations of citizens — children.
CCC’s DCF contract accounts for roughly 40% of its operating budget and pays the salaries of the program coordinators for CCC’s Adopt a Social Worker program, which allows donations from the general public to go toward the goods and services for the over 25,000 children served every year by CCC. Moreover, the state funds CCC receives represent a sound investment of our tax dollars, since for every dollar received from the state, CCC is able to return $6.80 in goods and services to the children of Connecticut.
Please support CCC and oppose the elimination of its state funding.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Name and Address
Fast Facts on Covenant to Care for Children, Inc. (CCC)
CCC has 13 staff positions: 12 full-time, one part-time.
247 faith and community based organizations and businesses have covenants or are doing special projects through CCC.
1900 faith and community based organizations, and businesses are on our mailing list.
We serve the entire state of Connecticut.
FY 08, 25,000 children statewide received basic necessities through CCC’s network of faith and community based organizations, volunteers, individual donors and businesses.
FY 08, 64% of children served were on DCF caseload. In the first two quarters of FY 09, the percentage has increased to 79%.
2567 active volunteers statewide.
FY 08, CCC received $272,727 from DCF and provided donated goods and services totaling $1,855,099 to children and families.
For each $1 received from the state, $6.80 was returned to the state in goods and services.
Adopt A Social Worker – Faith-based organizations adopt a DCF caseworker and sign a covenant to provide the material goods needed by the children and caregivers in the social worker’s caseload. In FY 08, 23,738 children were served by this program. This program has four full-time staff people.
Critical Goods Delivery Program responds to the needs of families who are at risk of losing their children or who are being reunified with their children. In FY08, 360 children were served in this program. Donations of beds, cribs, and other household items are picked up and delivered to families to satisfy the requirements for getting back or keeping their children. The program has one full time staff person.
Crisis Food Support Program (in partnership with Asylum Hill Congregational Church) is a program for delivering fresh and staple foods for one-time emergencies in families with children in Hartford. 200 children and 123 adults received assistance in FY 08.
Mentoring Program – a best practices one-on-one mentoring program, faith-based organizations act as host sites for the program and provide volunteers who coordinate the program. In FY 08, 21 teenagers were matched with mentors in our Reach One Youth Project. This program is critical for teens who have no positive role models, are without familial connections, and are at risk or of becoming pregnant or who have a child.
My Mentor and Me Project provides mentors for children who have an incarcerated parent. In FY 08, 27 youth were matched with mentors.
Children’s Enrichment Fund responds to unusual requests for children and youth. Social workers can request these funds to cover needs of children that are not met by State Government departments, other agencies, or our other CCC programs. Examples are camp experiences, haircuts, lessons, tutoring, special books, or other aids. More than 500 children are served each year by this program.
Please help us assure Covenant to Care for Children’s ability to meet the most basic needs of Connecticut’s children by supporting the ongoing level of funding through the DCF budget.
Caryl Hallberg, Executive Director
Health in the Headlines
April 29, 2009
With the season changing and headlines in the news focused on health and safety, I thought I would take this time as an opportunity to talk about preparedness and prevention of emergencies.
Below are links to some files called “potty posters” developed in California by an innovative team of disaster preparedness folk, CARD of Alameda.
The Potty Training Initiative (also known as the Captive Audience Program) spreads skills and awareness by placing simple posters wherever people spend time. Please feel free to reproduce and post these posters for your faith-based organization, school or business. I recommend lamination or putting them inside a plastic sleeve to prolong their useful life. Suggested placements are inside restroom stall doors, above sinks, or in waiting rooms. You could also include them in your mailings to clients and volunteers. To learn more about emergency preparedness made simple visit www.cardcanhelp.org.
I have also attached a basic emergency kit list to use in preparing your family. Don’t forget special needs for pets and children.
Let’s all of us take this first 10 days of May to make sure we are doing our part to prepare for emergencies and check our habits to ensure everyone’s health and safety for the coming year.
The best way for us to serve our children is to begin by keeping ourselves healthy and safe and teaching our children good habits.
The Economic Impact on Children
March 11, 2009
According to Anne Mitchell, President of Early Childhood Research, it will take three to five years after it is over for a child to recover from the effects of the current economic depression. Before the budget crisis and the economic failures 1 in 10 children in Connecticut lived below the poverty line.
Everyone concerned with child welfare and education is in conversation, but I worry that our children are not able to wait for DC leadership to be in place, for CT government to come to agreement, or for school systems to succeed or nonprofits to expand their programs.
There is a lot to hope for in the stimulus plan and I urge you to look at Senator Dodd’s Resource Guide to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. We here in Connecticut have opportunities if we act with awareness and strategy.
Covenant to Care for Children is actively monitoring these conversations and where we can we are participating. We will do all we can to advocate for Results Based Accountability, strategic thinking, and programs and spending that maximize the positive impact on our children.
Meanwhile we will keep saying “yes” to our children as requests for their basic needs come to us. Our wonderful volunteers and donors will continue to make it possible.
As we move through these difficult times I am keeping my eyes open for child abuse prevention activities and tools parents, caregivers and mentors can use to minimize the fear of the future we may collectively communicate to our children. It is crucial as we celebrate April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month that we understand that the added economic stressors we are all feeling contribute to the possibility of child abuse and neglect. We must offer respite and support to our friends and neighbors whenever possible to help each other through and to protect our children.
We, as adults, need to learn to monitor our speech and the impact of messaging regarding the economy that our children experience. Please visit www.aap.org/disasters/economy.cfm for a wonderful tool in working with your kids during this time.