Welcome to CAFCA's Public Policy & Advocacy Page!

The Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), our network of state and federally-designated anti-poverty agencies, is committed to advocating for public policy changes that advance social justice and economic opportunity for all people. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to realize their potential and participate as fully as possible in the social, civic, and economic life of their communities and our state.

Each and every person depends on the effort and support of others in direct and indirect ways in order to live a productive, fulfilling life. Our collective responsibility is to ensure that no one is excluded from receiving the comprehensive, individualized support they need to avoid or move out of poverty.

Unfortunately, despite Connecticut’s great wealth and assets, many families still are excluded, and many public policies simply reinforce the status quo. That’s where CAFCA and our partners come in, to help the State promulgate policies proven to help people avoid and move out of poverty in sustainable ways. In the words of The Promise of Community Action,

“Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.”

In pursuing our mission and fulfilling this promise, CAFCA collaborates with individual and organizational partners to break the cycle of generational poverty, resolve instances of situational poverty, and help build a state in which educational and employment opportunities prevent poverty in the first place.

Before the Governor’s office, State agencies, the General Assembly, Congress, and federal agencies, we advocate for the following public policy priorities.

  • Empower Children to Reach their Potential

Children live in poverty when their parents live in poverty. Connecticut must let parents work and provide resources so children have a strong start in life. CAFCA advocates for Community Action Agencies’ (CAAs’) programs in this area, including Head Start, Infant-Toddler programs and Early Head Start, Connecticut School Readiness, Connecticut Child Day Care, Specialized Care & Education, and Youth Development & After School.

  • Strengthen Connecticut’s Workforce, for Today and Tomorrow

Parents must be able to provide for their families, and every generation must be prepared to meet employers’ changing needs, including the needs of the emerging green economy. CAFCA advocates for CAAs’ programs in this areas, including One-Stop Employment, Adult Education, Youth and Young Adults, Vocational & Skills Training, and job training for seniors and other specific populations.

  • Let Working Families Build Assets

No family is free from poverty if financial ruin is just one missed paycheck or unexpected medical bill away. CAFCA advocates for initiatives to help families build assets. These include a state earned income tax credit, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), Free Income Tax Preparation, and Financial Counseling.

  • Invest in Community-Based Services that Strengthen Neighborhoods and Contain Costs

Local, community-based services keep families and communities intact, promote public safety, and are less expensive than alternatives. CAFCA advocates for CAAs’ programs in this area, including Eviction Prevention & Mediation, Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing, Subsidized Housing, Senior Support Services, RSVP & Senior Volunteer programs, Alternatives to Incarceration, and Halfway Houses and Reentry.

  • Keep Families Safe and Healthy

Families cannot focus on education, civic participation, or long-term goals when their safety and health are threatened. CAFCA advocates for CAAs’ programs in this area, including Energy Assistance, Emergency Heating & Fuel Banks, Matching Utility Payments, Weatherization / WRAP / UI Helps, Meals on Wheels / Congregate Meal Sites, Women, Infants, & Children (WIC), Children & Adult Food, Food Pantries, Health Access & Counseling, AIDS Prevention & Counseling, Substance Abuse Prevention, and Medical Transportation

  • Maintain an Effective Poverty-Fighting Network

Serving every city and town in our state, Connecticut’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are the foundational partners in the state’s Human Services Infrastructure (HSI), a customer-focused, integrated human services delivery system that allows every person who walks through our doors to be connected to proven, comprehensive services.

More people than ever are in need of a hand up and CAAs are a key resource in helping Connecticut’s most vulnerable people move from poverty to economic security. With CAAs leading the way, the HSI achieves the positive results Connecticut’s families deserve, and prevents Connecticut’s residents from having to bear the unnecessary social and fiscal costs incurred when the causes and symptoms of poverty are ignored. Our effective poverty-fighting network is helping to make Connecticut an even better place to live for all.


Legislative Testimony 

  • CAFCA CT 2017 Testimony - LIHEAP - Appropriations, Human Services, Public Health Committees

Distinguished Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, Ranking Members, and Members of the Appropriations, Human Services, and Public Health Committees: Thank you for holding this hearing on the proposed Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Allocation Plan for FFY 2016/2017.  My name is Michelle James. I am the Executive Director of the Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut, Inc. (CAAWC) and Vice Chair of the Connecticut Association for Community Action, Inc. (CAFCA).  CAFCA is the state association for Connecticut’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs), the state and federal designated anti-poverty agencies serving all 169 cities and towns across Connecticut.

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  • CAFCA CT 2017 Testimony - H.B. 7030 - An Act Protecting the Credit of Utility Customers

Distinguished Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, Ranking Members, and Members, my name is Edith Pollock Karsky and I am the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), which is the state association for Connecticut's Community Action Agencies. I would like to voice our strong support to the Governor's proposal that will prohibit providers from reporting utility customers who are late in paying their bills to credit rating agencies.

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  • CAFCA CT 2017 Testimony - Governor's proposed FY 2017-2018 budget

Distinguished Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, Ranking Members, and Members, my name is Deborah Monahan and I serve as the Executive Director of the Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA) and as Chair of the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), the state association for Connecticut's nine Community Action Agencies, or CAAs.  I am here to discuss the Governor's proposed budget, especially the portion of the budget that deals with our line item-Human Services Infrastructure (HSI)-Community Action Program (CAP) in the Department of Social Services (DSS) budget.  

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  • CAFCA CT 2017 Testimony - Governor's proposed FY 2017-2018 budget

Distinguished Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, Ranking Members, and Members, my name is Amos Smith and I am President and CEO of the Community Action Agency of New Haven (CAANH).  I also serve as Vice Chair of the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), the state association for Connecticut's nine Community Action Agencies, or CAAs. I am here to discuss the Governor's proposed budget, especially the portion around our major funding: the Human Services Infrastructure (HSI)-Community Action Program (CAP) line item in the Department of Social Services (DSS) budget.  

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  • CAFCA CT 2016 Testimony - CSBG - Appropriations, Human Services, Public Health Committees

Distinguished Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, Ranking Members, and Members of the Appropriations, Human Services, and Public Health Committees: Thank you for holding this hearing on the proposed Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Allocation Plan for FFY 2017.  My name is Deborah Monahan. I am the Executive Director of the Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc. (TVCCA) and Chair of the Connecticut Association for Community Action, Inc. (CAFCA).  CAFCA is the state association for Connecticut’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs), the state and federal designated anti-poverty agencies that serve each and every one of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns.

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