A SOLID START

 

Children enrolled in Georgia’s Pre-K program show significant growth in language and literacy, math and social-emotional skills.

 

Since 1992, 1.6 million children have benefitted from Georgia’s Pre-K program.

 

Every dollar spent on early childcare returns up to $8.60 in societal benefits.

Why It Matters

Approximately 795,600 0 to 5 year olds lived in Georgia in 2017.

The physical, emotional, and social development of young children beginning with prenatal care impacts their chances for lifetime success. From birth, both good and bad experiences, can greatly affect the trajectory of a child’s life. Providing children with quality communication; nutrition; cognitive, emotional, and physical supports; as well as minimizing stressors, are all key to developing the brain’s immediate and lifelong responses as a child grows into adulthood.

Where Georgia Stands

80,496

4-year-olds are enrolled in Georgia's Pre-K Program

63

of Georgia children could not read proficiently by the end of third grade in 2017-2018

12

of every 1,000 Black infants die. That's more than twice the rate of White infants.

Our Priorities

Highlights of Our Work

High-quality, affordable early education and child care

One of the greatest challenges for all families with infants, young, or school-aged children is finding nurturing, safe, developmentally-appropriate and affordable childcare. Yet childcare costs, on average, consume a significant portion of family income. The proportion can be greater for those families earning less. Quality, affordable child care is key in developing cognitive and social-emotional skills.

The average cost of center-based child care in Georgia is more than the average cost of in-state college tuition.

Our work in this area:

Ensuring Georgia’s youngest learners enter Kindergarten with school readiness skills

Voices is working with the Department of Early Care and Learning to revise their quality standards to improve nutrition, physical activity and social-emotional learning.

School Readiness In Georgia

Educating policymakers on Childcare and Parent Services expansion

Voices is working to expand funding for the CAPS program. Only 11% of eligible low-income families receive Federal Subsidies to pay for childcare because Georgia’s appropriation to match the federal funds is low. By increasing Georgia’s match, we can make quality child care affordable for more families.

Childcare and Parent Services

Access to fresh, locally-grown foods in early childcare centers

In 2017, Voices, Georgia Organics, Quality Care for Children (QCC), the Common Market, and Little Ones Learning Center received funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to design and build a “Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE)” program that could be replicated across our state. Together, we are working to increase access to healthy, locally-grown foods and opportunities for good nutrition and physical activity in ECE settings.

Farm to ECE has been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by 20-30%.

Our work in this area includes:

Policy research to inform systems transformation

Voices leads the effort to expand access to fresh, locally-grown, healthy foods in early child care centers through a broad variety of research initiatives to inform the strategic opportunities in Georgia Voices leads a broad variety of research initiatives for far to ECE, including a study of alternative procurement and a WIC Farmers Market pilot project.

Farm to ECE education and advocacy

Voices educates policymakers, ECE center director, teachers, and parents about the benefits of and possible avenues for Farm to ECE. We identify policy opportunities to promote farm to ECE, connect ECE directors with resources, and collaborate with the Department of Early Care and Learning to embed farm to ECE in multiple systems components, including Quality Rated Improvement System (QRIS) and Preschool Development Block Grant Needs Assessment.

Farm to ECE factsheet

Maintaining funding for Georgia’s Pre-K Program

Georgia Pre-K is open to all four-year-olds in the state, regardless of their parent’s income. In 2018, 61% of all four-year-olds in the state were enrolled in a Georgia Pre-K program.

Our work in this area includes:

Educating on the importance of quality Pre-Kindergarten education

Voices secures and maintains commitments from elected officials to Georgia’s Pre-K program. Nearly all elected officials have read to students during our Georgia Pre-K Week event in all counties statewide. By providing equipping children with school readiness skills for Kindergarten, they are more likely to experience academic success and a better lifetime well-being than their peers.

Learn More about Georgia Pre-K Week

Organizing Georgia Pre-K Week

Every year, Voices organizes hundreds of visits to Pre-K centers across the state for elected officials. 79% of all current state legislators have participated in Pre-K Week during their time in office. In 2018, 138 elected officials and other state leaders made 211 confirmed visits to Pre-K centers in their communities, including visits by Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal.

Wins for Kids

All Kindergarteners in Georgia will soon be screened for dyslexia.
Senate Bill 48 requires all Georgia elementary schools to implement screenings for dyslexia and improve teacher training on the learning disability, following a three-year pilot program, which is set to start in 2020-2021.
Georgia sustained funding levels for the Georgia Pre-K Program during the 2019 Legislative Session.
In 2017, $354 million was allocated to Georgia’s Pre-K Program, resulting in $4,255 spent per child. While spending per child has risen since the Great Recession, recent spending lags behind the 2002 levels by more than $1,400 per child.

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We are a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization advancing laws, policies,
and actions that improve the lives of Georgia's children.

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