(Courtesy of The Community Foundation, March 9, 2021)
Healthy growth and development during the first five years of life provide the building blocks for a child’s long-term success. Experiences and interactions during this time profoundly impact early brain development, cognitive abilities, behavior, and the lifelong health of an individual. Children who participate in quality early childhood programs, whether they are center or home-based, are more likely to graduate high school, secure higher wages, avoid incarceration, and lead overall healthier lives.
Access to affordable, high-quality child care is tied to the underlying health of any community and is essential to supporting working families, as well. Unfortunately, widespread lack of access has forced many working parents to reduce hours, turn down promotions or leave the workforce all together. As a result, businesses across Virginia face significant losses in earnings, productivity, and revenue. Virginia’s lack of investment in the child care system disproportionately impacts minority populations, reinforces poverty, and stunts economic mobility.