Report | September 20, 2023

Child Care Educators Set Young Kids on the Path to Success

A qualified, well-compensated teaching staff is key to quality child care and future public safety

The law enforcement members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids recognize that high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs are a powerful way to give kids the right start in life and help them avoid becoming involved in crime later. Research shows that to have a real impact, programs must be high quality, in order to help children develop the critical academic and social skills needed for success in school and life. Among the most fundamental ECE quality features are highly-qualified teachers who are well-trained before and during their service and who need to be fairly compensated.

If we want youth to be successful, we need to invest where it matters-in quality programs during their earliest years.

Nate Dreckman, Sheriff, Grant County, WI

Unfortunately, the child care system does not adequately meet the needs of parents, children, or early educators. Child care, particularly for infants and toddlers, is often not available and is unaffordable for many families, particularly those with low incomes. Inadequate compensation and subpar working conditions for child care educators result in high levels of turnover, impacting the availability and quality of programs. The pandemic exacerbated these longstanding challenges and resulted in a loss of 40,800 child care educators nationwide since February 2020.

Law enforcement professionals know training and compensation are essential to an effective workforce. The same is true for the early childhood care and education workforce

Tommy Clark, Jr. Chief of Police & Superintendent of Safety Services, Grambling City, LA

Federal and state policymakers must support investments in evidence-based policies that enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality child care, including addressing the needs of the child care workforce. Providing young children with high-quality early learning opportunities can improve the experiences of children and families today and help reduce the human and fiscal costs of crime in the future.

Kids who attend high-quality early education programs are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in post-secondary programs, and are less likely to have disciplinary issues. Teachers are a big factor in the quality of early education

Jennifer Webb-McRae, County Prosecutor, Cumberland County, NJ

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