Strengthen Our State
We can either invest in success or pay the high price of failure later. There is overwhelming evidence that the best time to influence children’s future success is in the first 1,000 days of life.
By implementing policies supporting early child health care, security, education, and safety, we will increase student success, reduce crime, and boost our economy. That investment at the beginning of a child’s life saves future expenditures in school remediation, crime, mental illness, and multi-generational dependency on government. As a society, we have a big stake in making sure parents succeed. Our jails are filled with people whose first 1,000 days were filled with stress and trauma, rather than nurture and learning, at great cost to our society.
Why does it matter that a child has a healthy first 1,000 days of life?
- Significantly balances the scales, giving all children a fair chance to succeed
- Enhances children’s school success
- Allows parents to work
- Grows our talent pipeline
- Reduces maltreatment
- Reduces costs of failure (criminal justice, remediation)
By investing in the first 1,000 days, we can make a difference in long-term outcomes for Florida’s most vulnerable children and families. You can help Florida achieve this vision by raising your voice in support of these public policy priorities.
Child Care – Expand affordable and accessible high-quality infant/toddler care. Read more:
Baby Courts – Improve outcomes for infants and toddlers in child welfare through Baby Court and links to early childhood systems.
Early Steps – Expand eligibility and maximize the impact of early intervention. Read more:
Children’s Health – Promote a medical home and access to health care for all children, and provide critical mental health services to address maternal/paternal depression and infant mental health.
Parental Depression IMH
Economic Policies– Support economic policies that promote stable, nurturing and self-sufficient parents through access to job training and education, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits. Read more
Making progress toward healthier, safer children…
1) …Enhances school achievement, giving children a more equal chance to succeed
Word gap contributes to lower academic performance. There is a $30-million word gap in the vocabularies of children at the wealthiest and poorest ends of society. Supportive investments in early childhood development can help to close the gap.
Third grade reading scores predict success later in life. Third grade reading scores are a key indicator of a child’s future academic success and achievement of more advanced career goals. The better a child does, the brighter Florida’s future looks.
Brain development is critical during the first 1,000 days. By a child’s 2nd birthday, his or her brain has reached 80% of its adult size. This means that the first two years of life are crucial when it comes to brain development. Positive experiences during those first two years can profoundly influence brain functioning, learning ability, and behavior.
2) Reduces crime, mental illness, substance abuse & family disruption
Toxic stress negatively affects brain development. Excessive stress is toxic and disrupts the development of a child’s brain. This can lead to problems throughout the child’s life and affect their success in school and in the work force.
Bonding/attachment theory indicates behavior patterns. Caregiver sensitivity and the bond that results between parents and infants influence the child’s later patterns of behavior. Children who are insecurely attached can develop behavioral problems and may not function amicably in social situations.
Early trauma intervention can prevent developmental problems.
Early trauma intervention can prevent developmental problems. More than two in every 10 Florida children, birth to 17 years old, have experienced two or more potentially traumatic events (Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACES) that can have negative, lasting effects on their health and well-being. Early intervention and treatment can strengthen a child’s resilience and develop healthy coping mechanisms, preventing the development of disease, disability and substance abuse and other social problems later in life.
The cycle of family trauma can be broken with support. Parents who have experienced traumatic childhoods themselves can have problems rearing their own children (“ghosts in the nursery”). Improved understanding of child development, offered by home visiting and other family support programs, can help parents understand and respond appropriately to children’s behavior and actions.
Substance abuse is the #1 cause of child removal. Children who grow up in stable, sober households will have a greater chance of staying out of the foster system and remaining with their families.
3) Promotes self-sufficiency…for generations
Quality child care reduces absenteeism. Employers surveyed report that child care services decrease employee absences by 20-30%. Access to quality care helps to ensure that parents have the ability to show up for work on a regular basis, knowing their child is in good hands.
Child health care reduces absenteeism. Healthy children lead to more effective working parents. When a child is healthy, a parent is able to attend work consistently.
Quality child care promotes later school successes. High-quality early childhood education and child care improves the health and promotes development and learning. In turn, the child is more equipped and ready to tackle school later on, leading to later academic success.