Translation: Fewer options for care, harder-to-find quality.
We must do better. Children and families have a right to expect safe, high-quality programs for care and early education — a place where kids can access the best learning opportunities at a time when their brains are at their most rapid stage of development. Creating this system of excellent child care will do more than benefit children and families. It’ll help the state’s economy.
Better-quality child care opens the front door to education, making sure our children are ready for school and reading to learn by the third grade. Research consistently shows that quality child care can increase high school graduation rates and college attendance, while reducing special education costs, crime and delinquency and teen pregnancies.
The facts are clear. We need to invest in early education now. It will take all of us investing and working together if we are to be successful. The earliest years of childhood are critical. The experiences children have during this time form the structure of the brain and set the foundation for all future growth and learning.
Pam Tatum is CEO of Quality Care for Children, an Atlanta-based nonprofit.