Report | April 5, 2022

High-Quality Early Childhood Programs are Key for a Strong Pennsylvania

Home visiting, child care, and preschool can help grow the economy, increase public safety, and enhance national security

High-quality early childhood programs can contribute to public safety and a strong economy, and enhance national security. Research shows that experiences children have in their earliest years, during a period of critical brain growth, set the foundation for future development. Children who experience warm, responsive parenting, and nurturing child care and preschool programs that stimulate their cognitive, social, and emotional development are set on a path to productive adulthood. Children who lack these quality environments early in life often arrive at school already behind their peers and may never catch up—underperforming in third-grade reading and math, more likely to be held back in school, and less likely to graduate from high school on time.

Being smart on crime means addressing its root causes, including child abuse and neglect, lack of educational attainment, substance use and other underlying challenges.

David W. Sunday, Jr., York County District Attorney

Children’s early experiences also have consequences for our state and our nation. Our national security relies on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, health issues, and behavior problems (substance use and crime) currently prevent 71 percent of Pennsylvania youth from qualifying for service. Pennsylvania’s jails are full of people serving time for serious and costly crimes, many of whom lack high school diplomas that would qualify them for legitimate employment. Pennsylvania’s businesses need a steady supply of educated, skilled young people to build a strong workforce to compete in the global economy.

Pennsylvania’s children deserve the best we can provide, so they can one day be their best for our country.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Thomas J. Wilson, III, U.S. Navy

Pennsylvania policymakers must support high-quality early childhood programs, including home visiting, child care, and preschool, to provide our children with the strong foundation they need to contribute to the future strength of our state and our nation.

Family first, firm second: It’s why having available and affordable quality child care options matter so much to employees and businesses.

Jack Brennan, Chairman Emeritus, Vanguard

States

  1. Pennsylvania