HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Supporters of Connecticut’s application for up to $50 million in federal grants say they believe the state’s chances have been strongly improved by the creation of a new Early Childhood Office.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued an executive order Monday establishing that agency within the Office of Policy and Management.

It comes as Connecticut submits its application this week for federal “Race to the Top” grants offered to help states bolster preschool education. It emphasizes reaching poor children who need the services the most, but whose families can least afford them.

About 42,000 children are born in Connecticut each year, and educators say strong preschool programs are critical to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

States will be notified by the end of the year whether they have won grants.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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