Saying that the nation, and Idaho in particular, needs to do a better job in investing in its children's early years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation unveiled its latest policy reports this morning—"The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success."
The report reveals that 18,000 low-income Idaho children ages 3 and 4 are not enrolled in preschool, representing 69 percent of low-income Idaho kids in the age group. The national average is approximately 63 percent. Additionally, the report says 72 percent of Idaho kids do not receive a developmental screening by age 6.
“Idaho’s future prosperity depends on today’s investments in young children. By providing nurturing learning experiences in the early years—when the brain architecture develops—we prepare our children for the lifelong acquisition of skills,” said Lauren Necochea, Idaho KIDS COUNT Director.
The report chronicles how, by third grade, only 36 percent of children are on track in the cognitive knowledge and skills area. Researchers say that children who don't meet the key developmental milestones often struggle to catch up in school, graduate on time, and often to grow into economically stable adults.
"The First Eight Years" study concludes with three chief policy recommendations:
-Support for parents to effectively care and provide for their children.
-Increase access to high-quality birth through age eight programs.
-Development of comprehensive child development programs and support for transition to elementary school.
You can read the full report here: AECFTheFirstEightYears2013.pdf