Improving children’s environments and experiences early in life can help to combat destabilizing influences and poor health later in life. While we have been seeing improvements in childhood development due to increased focus on preschool and early childhood developmental programs, other factors, such as poverty, inaccessibility to resources and neglect have a negative impact on the lives of young children.
Why It Matters:
We can no longer afford to incur the avoidable costs – of child welfare, remedial education, police and corrections, individuals with addiction, and unemployed, underemployed, unproductive, and unhealthy adults – that result from our lack of investment in consistent, knowledgeable, nurturing adult caregivers and enriching early education and experiences.
Children who receive assistance in their early years achieve more success at school. As adults they have higher employment and earnings, better health, and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those who don’t have these early opportunities.
What Must Be Done:
While Vermont has made significant progress in improving early childhood programs, there remains ample room for improvement to ensure every child receives recommended screenings and access to services. We must harness the power of Vermont’s communities and the state legislature to improve systems to continue to aid families, educators and those who can influence the lives of our children.