Child Poverty Still on the Rise -- Early Childhood Investments Can Help!

Jun 24, 2013

By Christine Johnson-Staub and Stephanie Schmit

According to the 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book released today, child poverty is on the rise.  But despite the challenges that come with poverty, children are still making educational and health gains. The Data Book, produced annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, tracks 16 indicators of child well-being.

It is well documented that the early years of a child's development set the stage for the child's future success in school and in life. With child poverty estimated at 23 percent, the study makes the case that early childhood interventions, like pre-kindergarten, can make a difference in children's success in school. KIDS COUNT found that in the U.S., 54 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds were not enrolled in preschool.

Poverty is even higher for the very youngest children-26 percent for children under age 3. Early intervention can help to offset some of the potentially negative outcomes of living in poverty. The KIDS COUNT report highlights a two-generation approach of supporting parents, given the influence they have on their children, in addition to providing high-quality experiences for children. Programs like Head Start offer comprehensive services to children, pregnant women, and their families.

The President's proposed early childhood initiative can help connect vulnerable children and their families with home visiting services, high-quality child care, and preschool-all of which counter the negative effects of poverty and support healthy child development. For more information on the Administration's proposal and how to move it forward, visit Strong Start for Children.

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