A child’s most rapid brain development takes place during the period from birth to age five, establishing the foundation – whether strong or shaky – for a lifetime of cognitive and emotional development. Investing in young children not only benefits children and families, however. These investments also have a great rate of return on the public dollar – more specifically, for every $1 invested in a high quality child care program the public benefit is $7.
However, despite Georgia’s efforts on behalf of children, the state continues to rank in the bottom 10 nationally for overall child well being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2011 Kids Count Data Book. It is for all these reasons that Voices for Georgia’s Children includes early childhood in our comprehensive policy agenda, which also covers issues related to child health and transitioning youth. It is our goal to work with state leaders to develop a comprehensive policy framework for Georgia that supports younger children and their families.
Our Zero to Five Policy Framework, outlined in our Compounding Interest publication, is a guide for leadership that focuses on three important areas:
- Family Supports. The most important developmental relationship is between child and parent and primary caregivers.
- Good Health. Good health is fundamental to a good start in life.
- Early Care and Learning. After parents, a child’s other daily caregivers are the most influential forces in his/her healthy development.