Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The numbers are moving the wrong way

Early childhood is a time of great opportunity. For young children, it is a time when they learn to walk and talk and build the foundations for future development. For policymakers, it is a time to improve the odds that young children receive the health care, positive early learning experiences, and nurturing parenting that will support their healthy development and school readiness.

A new report, State Early Childhood Polices: Improving the Odds, issued by the National Center for Children in Poverty examines how well we're doing and finds that the numbers are going the wrong way.

Key findings from the report reveal a mixed picture across the states:
■ Ten million American children, 42% of all young children under six, are especially vulnerable to poor school outcomes and poor health. Poverty and economic hardship are root causes. Florida is close to the national number at 43% -- but that's still more than half a million children.

■ Only 15 states provide access to both health insurance and child care subsidies for a family of three earning about $35,000 per year -— the minimum it takes for a low-income family to cover basic costs. Florida isn't one of them; a family of three was eligible up to $24,900.

■ While access to pre-k has expanded for 4-year-olds in Florida, 54,000 children eligible for child care subsidies are on a waiting list, an increase from 40,000 in 2005.
Read the report here and check out Florida's Early Childhood Profile here.

Update: Rachel's Tavern has a post on this.


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