Investing in the first five years of children’s lives benefits children, their parents, and society at large. High quality caring and learning environments in the early years – starting at birth – are necessary if children are to be ready to enter school at age five.
Affordable early care and education allows parents to participate in the workforce, and sets the stage for the next generation to be productive members of society. There is evidence that children who participate in these programs are less likely to be retained in school, less likely to need special education services, and more likely to graduate from high school. They are also less likely to become involved with the welfare system, less likely to be involved in criminal activity, and more likely to be productively employed. In other words, children who have access to high-quality early care and education cost society and government less and contribute more.
Connecticut can improve the quality of its early care and education programs and expand access to services by:
- Increasing per-child funding for all state-subsidized early care and education programs based on the actual cost of providing high quality programs;
- Increasing funding for professional development and scholarship assistance for child care staff;
- Continuing to expand the number of early care and education subsidies so that all eligible children have access to programs;
- Expanding consultation and wraparound services in the areas of children’s health, mental health, and social-emotional development;
- Ensuring that all of our programs are designed to identify and meet the needs of parents and children together; and
- Most importantly, continuing to track, support, and finance the work of the Office of Early Childhood as it creates an effective early childhood system for children and families, so that our children can succeed in school and beyond.