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Dr. Cathy Grace
Director of Early Childhood Development
Speaking for Children
Dr. Cathy Grace, Director of Early Childhood Development, has produced a series of video segments entitled “Speaking for Children,” which provide tips and strategies for parents and caregivers on the development of young children.
Investments in early childhood are vital to the success of our nation's youth. Extensive research has shown that early childhood programs significantly increase a child's chances of avoiding the prison pipeline. Furthermore, these programs have well-documented economic and societal value. Studies have shown that investments in quality early education can produce a rate of return to society significantly higher than returns to most stock market investments or traditional economic development projects.
Despite these encouraging reports, thousands of children across the country are still waiting for the chance to participate in quality early childhood programs. CDF fully understands the need for consistent, quality education and care beginning at birth. Our nation simply can’t afford not to significantly increase investments in early childhood development and care, or to keep leaving so many poor babies and toddlers behind.
June 14, 2011
Co-convened by CDF and the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
This year’s Addressing Achievement Gaps Symposium “A Strong Start: Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success” is devoted to the issues facing Black boys in their early years. CDF is partnering with ETS to explore the challenges facing this vulnerable population and the opportunities to position young Black boys for educational success.
There is some good news on the federal front for early care and education programs. Despite major spending cuts in the FY2011 budget deal, Congress increased funding for Early Head Start, Head Start, and child care in the final FY2011 budget. Learn more with our legislative update.
States and cities across the country are responding to pressure to balance budgets by cutting child care services for working families. In 36 states and the District of Columbia the annual cost of center-based child care for a 4-year-old is more than annual in-state tuition at a public four-year college. With costs continuing to rise and families continuing to struggle through this fragile economy, now is the time for state and local governments to expand rather than cut early learning opportunities for our children.
When New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced in February his plan to cut 17,000 child care slots from the budget, the Children’s Defense Fund—New York joined dozens of other organizations to form the Emergency Coalition to Save Children and issued a report to outline the devastating impact the cuts would have on working families and their children. The coalition organized protests and raised a ruckus while securing strong support from City Council members. Their efforts paid off as the Mayor retreated from cutting so many child care slots last Friday. Read the latest news from Crain’s in which Rev. Emma Jordan-Simpson, executive director of CDF—New York, is quoted as saying there is still work to be done to ensure early childhood education and children are a priority in the city's budget.
Head Start has proven results. Children who participate are school ready, less likely to need special education, more likely to graduate high school and go on to college. Check out Angie’s story, and tell Congress, don’t cut Head Start.
The Children’s Defense Fund recently hosted Data Driven Decisions: Separating Fact from Fiction in Building Early Care and Education Systems, a learning institute that brought together representatives from Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina to discuss the importance of using coordinated early childhood data systems as tools for policy makers. Early childhood data are often scattered throughout multipale state agencies or departments, making it difficult for policymakers and advocates to develop efficient strategies to meet the needs of children and families in their state.
This conference gave state teams the opportunity to:
During the summer of 2010, CDF released The State of America's Children 2010, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on key child indicators, including early childhood education and care. Among other selections, the Early Childhood Development section of the report includes state data on Head Start enrollment, the cost of child care and child care subsidies, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the Child Care and Development Fund, pre-K enrollment, and Quality Rating Improvement Systems. In 2008, just over one million low-income children were enrolled in head Start during 2008, yet that number fell far short of those who were eligible. Of those children served by Head Start programs, a majority are Black or Hispanic.
Each month, the Children's Defense Fund sends out a newsletter with updates on the latest happenings in Early Childhood policy. Be sure to check out the latest edition!
The federal budget is an important moral statement of what we value as a nation and where our priorities lie. This year, the federal budget process is more important than ever. Many states are facing budget shortfalls and the deficit is at a record high. CDF believes investing in our children is the long-term answer to our country’s budget problems. Visit our Budget Watch page, which includes information specific to funding for early childhood, to learn more about the federal budget process.