There is a great amount of knowledge and research over the last several years that has given us a better understanding of how important the first years in children’s lives are and how to make the most of a child’s potential for the betterment of all society.
Neuroscientists, child development experts, economists and parents all know, thriving, productive, healthy adults contribute to strong communities, a vibrant economy and are more apt to be successful parents of future generations.
Putting the Pieces Together – Investing in our Children
- If families and caregivers can provide quality early childhood development, then children will start school ready to learn. These quality early experiences support positive future learning, behavior and health.
- If children start school ready to learn, they are more likely to read at grade level by third grade. Remedial costs go down, potential lifelong gaps could be eliminated and our entire school system is better for all children.
- If children read at grade level by third grade, they are more likely to graduate from high school. High school dropouts constitute 82% of the American prison population and are four times as likely to be unemployed and apply for public assistance.
- If children graduate from high school, they are more likely to go onto higher education, setting the stage for future generations and business benefits from a better educated workforce in these globally competitive times. High school graduates can also enter the job market as tax-paying citizens.
- Confident, accomplished adults contribute to a responsible community. Employable, tax-paying citizens are critical to a vital economy.
Supporting Early Care and Education
There are more than 11 million children under the age of 5 in some type of child care arrangement every week while their parents work. On average, children of working parents spend 35 hours every week in child care. Leaders in the community are the key voice for the movement to strengthen the accessibility to quality child care. If this issue affects you as a parent, grandparent, early care and education provider, or just a concerned community member, consider advocating!
Advocacy means taking action by informing key policy makers on policy solutions and key information about a topic. To support early care and education, consider advocating about improving the quality, availability and affordability of childcare in New Jersey. Some of the current issues in New Jersey are, staff qualifications, low wages for all staff working in childcare, the cost of childcare for families, the accessibility of programs that are trained to include children with special needs and the lack of quality child care programs.
Build Awareness about Child Care
Meet with key people to discuss child care issues. This group may include local, state and federal legislators, government organizations, families and the business community. Utilize your knowledge and statistics to build your rationale for speaking about child care. Please visit our Cost of Care page to identify the cost of child care in Monmouth County and the impact on both families and child care providers.
There are many organizations who work to advocate for quality and accessible child care. Consider becoming familiar with these groups before beginning your advocacy efforts:
Know Your Public Officials and Representatives
After each election, get an updated list of your local, state and federal legislators. Contact them on a regular basis, sharing your concerns about child care. You can write, call and visit.
How to Find Your Legislators