Members Key in Expanding Access to Home Visiting and Child Care Programs in Wisconsin
Members petition lawmakers to increase early childhood program funding
Throughout the 2019 legislative session, members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation used their voices through letters, opinion pieces in news outlets and meetings in Madison with lawmakers to highlight the importance of prioritizing early childhood programs.
Members met with 16 legislative offices to share their perspectives. They also presented and discussed a new research brief that demonstrates the need to focus on the youngest Wisconsinites and their families in order to boost economic development, public safety, and national security.
(L to R) Director of State Policy Eoin Dillon; Mission: Readiness member Brigadier General Kenneth Koon, U.S. Army Retired; ReadyNation member Nancy Armbrust, VP of Schreiber Foods, Retired; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Sturtevant Chief of Police and President of Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Sean Marschke; State Representative John Nygren.
A recent ReadyNation research report found that working parents of children under age three struggle to maintain affordable child care, which negatively impacts parents, their employers, and taxpayers. Nationwide, these child care challenges inflict an annual cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.
Providing greater access to affordable, high-quality child care can help alleviate these problems, allowing parents the peace of mind to thrive in the workplace, and infants and toddlers to receive the all-important support they need in a high-quality environment.
Home visiting programs can also have a positive impact on families with very young children. These programs pair a nurse, social worker or paraprofessional with young parents and can improve health outcomes for young children and reduce child abuse and neglect.
Programs like high-quality child care and home visiting can have impacts that help shape kids’ lives as they grow. For example, currently, 71 percent of young adults ages 17-24 do not qualify for military service even if they wanted to serve, largely due to educational deficits, health issues, and behavioral problems. The early brain development that occurs before the age of three sets the stage for future success in school and in life, and high-quality early supports can help put a child on a path toward academic success and better options, including military service.
The efforts of members throughout the session helped to persuade lawmakers to increase access to the Family Foundation Home Visiting Program by increasing its budget by $3 million and improving the utility of Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program by increasing its budget $23 million.