The Annie E. Casey Foundation has recently released the new Kids Count Report. As I looked through the report, I was saddened to see the high percentage of kids living below the national poverty level.
|0 to 5||26%|
|6 to 17||21%|
|less than 18||23%|
This is the rate of children living in poverty throughout the United States. The smallest children are the highest percentage living below the national poverty level.
Early childhood experiences and education have been shown to affect a person's entire life. If a child is growing up below the poverty level from birth - 5 years of age, they are frequently at a large disadvantage by the time they start school.
A child's brain grows to 80% of it's adult size (source: Better Brains for Babies @ University of Georgia) during the early childhood years. The brain is stimulated by experiences, play, attachment and consistency. This is why quality care for children is so important. Children from homes below the national poverty level deserve to have opportunities that will stimulate that growth. They need not only new experiences, but they need repeated experiences to ingrain that event/knowledge into their brain.
As you look through the Kids Count Report, you will see a breakdown for the nation and for each state in several areas, including Demographics, Education, Economic Well-Being, Family and Community, Health, Safety and Risky Behaviors and Other Indicators.
One of the goals of the Kids Matter campaign is to raise awareness of quality child care for all children. What are your suggestions for equalizing children? Many states are going towards public preschool for all children, whether funded privately or publicly. This is a great start, but we need to discuss how we reach the full spectrum of children and how we offer a future full of education for all children.
Weigh in with your thoughts.