Early Childhood Advocates
If we invest in programs that promote learning starting at (and before) birth
…the statistics will change.
…the stories will change.
…our future will change.
The First Five Years Fund’s annual bipartisan poll has found that investment in quality early care and education are priorities for Americans regardless of party affiliation. Learn more by clicking here.
The Data Is Out There
Investment in early childhood is good for children.
By the age of 5, a child’s brain reaches 85% of its adult weight, developing 700 neural synapses every second. These are the connections that help them learn. View the entire The Science of Early Childhood Development and the Foundation of Prosperity report.
Early experiences — both positive and negative at the family and the societal levels — shape children’s brains, bodies, and future possibilities. How do Montana’s kids’ futures compare to those of their counterparts in other states? Take a look at Montana’s State Baby Fact Sheet here, and compare Montana to other states here.
Investment in early childhood is good for the community.
Children that have access to and participate in early childhood learning opportunities pay more taxes, have reduced need for welfare and remediation, and show less criminal activity. View Lifetime Effects: the High Scope Perry Pre-School Study through 40.
Montana-specific information can be found at Montana KIDS COUNT, which provides the tools for child advocates and policy makers to promote effective decision-making that will improve the lives of children in our state.
Investment in early childhood is good for the economy.
Investment in early childhood education and intervention can help America stay competitive in the global economy. View the full National Poll Reveals American Business Leaders Link Access to Pre-Kindergarten Education to Country’s Economic Prosperity.
“In business, we rarely have the luxury of making an investment decision with as much evidence as we have to support the economic value of investing in early childhood development and education… Put bluntly, in my terms, they are a financial nobrainer. The only question is ‘how strong is the ROI?’ The answer: Two or three or more to one.”
~ John Pepper, former CEO of Proctor and Gamble
Everyone has an important and unique voice when it comes to advocating for our youngest community members. Educators, policymakers, grandparents, employers, and most importantly parents are all powerful advocates.
Advocating doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Writing an opinion piece for the newspaper, submitting a letter to your elected officials, or testifying at a city meeting are all great ways to share your voice.
We will provide updated legislative information before the 2019 legislative session.
The Montana State Legislature meets bi-annually in Helena, Montana. View live video and audio streams of hearings and track bills online.
Interested in contacting state or local officials? Here’s a handy list!
During each State of Montana legislative session, legislators identify issues they want to study in more depth. They appoint interim committees to conduct these and other studies during the interims between sessions. The committees often invite experts to present information to them. Members of the public also get a chance to have their say. Learn more about the State of Montana interim committee assignments as well as a how to register public comment during interim committees.
Legislative Forum 2016 Policy Briefs
On September 15, 2016, the ECC hosted a Legislative Forum to educate local candidates for public office about issues important to our coalition and to allow the public to learn the stances potential policy makers have taken on those issues. Notes from the Forum are here:
Some of the topics discussed include:
- Health Care for New Mothers
- Mental Health Needs of Pregnant Women and New Mothers
- Expanded Paid Leave
- Family and Children’s Mental Health
- Early Care and Early Education: A message from ECSB and CCLP
- Early Care and Early Education: ECSB 1-pager
All young children and their caregivers need access to high-quality, affordable early care and education, health and mental health, and family support services. These critical programs and services are only as strong as the infrastructure that supports them. These resources from Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families will help you understand and promote comprehensive, coordinated systems of high-quality, prenatal-to-five services in our state.
Wondering how to be an effective advocate? Check out our Advocacy 101 page for tips to get comfortable making your voice heard.
Track Federal Legislation
Child Care Aware of America’s Legislative Action Center provides information on federal legislation concerning early childhood and child care as well as action alerts and other resources.
The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania maintains a toolkit for early childhood donors. In the past 30 seconds, three more children were born in the United States. Of these three, only two are likely to graduate from high school. Millions of children in the U.S. face lives of lost potential without access to quality prenatal care, healthy and supportive environments, and opportunities to learn. It doesn’t have to be that way. Funders can help all children get an equal chance at a strong start.
Reports and Research
Where It All Began: The Perry Pre-School & Abecedarian Studies
Long-Term Study of Adults Who Received High-Quality Early Childhood Care: Education shows economic and social gains, less crime.
A landmark, long-term study of the effects of high-quality early care and education on low-income three- and four-year-olds shows that adults at age 40 who participated in a preschool program in their early years have higher earnings, are more likely to hold a job, have committed fewer crimes, and are more likely to have graduated from high school. Overall, the study documented a return to society of more than $16 for every tax dollar invested in the early care and education program. Learn more about the Perry Preschool Study
Early Learning, Later Success: The Abecedarian Study
On October 21, 1999, researchers from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center released a report that demonstrates long-lasting benefits for children enrolled in an experimental early education program. Researchers followed these children until age 21. Their findings go beyond demonstrating school readiness and success to identifying positive educational and social outcomes during young adulthood. The longitudinal study recently compared the treated group with the control group and found significant differences in their abilities and achievements. Learn more about the Abecedarian Study
In 2012, the Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area completed a comprehensive needs assessment. View the entire Needs Assessment In 2013, the Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area completed a strategic plan to guide the coalition’s work. View the entire Strategic Plan
The Montana Early Learning Roadmap: A Community Framework
We know that kids who attend quality preschool are more likely to read at grade level and more likely to graduate from high school. We also know that locating and being able to affors quality early childhood education is challenging for families across Montana. In September 2016, the Montana Office of Public Instruction released a report detailing a way to use an already successful process, Graduation Matters Montana, to build and strengthen early childhood education in communities throughout Montana. The Montana Early Learning Roadmap: A Community Framework report gives examples of how diverse Montana communities are working to expand access to early learning opportunities for all children.
Child Care Aware of America: 2014 State Fact Sheets
For the United States to fully participate in the 21st-century global economy, it needs to think of child care as equally a workforce support for parents and early education for young children. The Child Care in America: 2014 State Fact Sheets is critical for child care advocates, policymakers and program administrators as they make decisions about child care programs and expenditures. This annual report uses federal and national data and information from state Child Care Resource and Referral agencies and other state agencies to look at: – Family characteristics related to the need for child care – Use of child care – Supply of child care – Cost of child care – The child care workforce – Services provided by child care resource and referral agencies View the 2014 Child Care in the State of: Montana Report. View the full 2014 Child Care in America Report.
Fight Crime Invest in Kids: Saddle Up, Montana. It’s Time to Make Early Investment in Kids
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is a national, bipartisan, nonprofit, anti-crime organization. The organization has a membership of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, and other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors. There are 78 members, mostly sheriffs, policymakers, and other law enforcement officials, that want to stop crime before it happens by keeping focused on some of Montana’s wildest individuals: our babies, preschoolers, and elementary school children! View the full Saddle Up, Montana Report
Fight Crime Invest in Kids: The Business Case in Montana for Early Childhood Investments
According to John Pepper, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble, ““ In business, we rarely have the luxury of making an investment decision with as much evidence as we have to support the economic value of investing in early childhood development and education… Put bluntly, in my terms, they are a financial nobrainer. The only question is ‘how strong is the ROI?’ The answer: Two or three or more to one”. Read the full Business Case in Montana for Early Childhood Investments Report
Investing in Pre-K: Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ sheet from the Montana Budget & Policy Center (MBPC, November 11, 2014). Montana has the opportunity to invest in quality, public pre-Kindergarten and strengthen Montana’s children and families, our communities, and the state’s economy. Pre-K helps parents work, reduces education costs, increases future earnings of participants, and reduces the state’s spending on corrections. Read the Investing in Pre-K: Frequently Asked Questions sheet
Strengthening Families, Strengthening Our Economy: The Economic Benefits of Pre-Kindergarten
Investing now in kids and families will strengthen Montana’s children and families, our communities, and the state’s economy. Quality, public pre-K helps parents work, reduces education costs, increases future earnings of participants, and reduces the state’s spending on corrections. Montana is currently one of only eight states not investing in its youngest learners. (MPBC, September 9, 2014) Read the full Strengthening Families, Strengthening Our Economy: The Economic Benefits of Pre-Kindergarten report
The High Cost of Child Care: State Funding for Pre-K Would Benefit Montana Families
State funding for pre-Kindergarten is an opportunity to strengthen our state’s economy and help Montana’s hard working families. The cost of high-quality child care is a significant obstacle for many working families. Many parents face frustrating choices: pay an excessive portion of their income in child care costs, choose lower-quality care, or quit their jobs. (MPBC, July 8, 2014) Read the full The High Cost of Child Care: State Funding for Pre-K Would Benefit Montana Families report
Pre-Kindergarten: An Investment in Montana’s Future
Early childhood is a crucial time of learning and growth for children. Montana is one of only ten states with no state-funded pre-kindergarten system. Studies have shown that investing in pre-k is one of the most effective investments a state can make, with significant benefits for children and the state’s fiscal health. (MPBC, December 11, 2013) Read the full Pre-Kindergarten: An Investment in Montana’s Future report
2014 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well Being
As a nation, we are obsessed with data and indicators when it comes to the economy. We track the gross domestic product, the Consumer Price Index, unemployment, inventories, housing starts, interest rates and so on. We monitor these numbers because they are critical to understanding where our economy is heading, and because we want to be able to respond forcefully if the numbers signal developing problems. We should be equally, if not more, concerned about the data that tell us how our children are doing: The well being of our country’s children is the most important indicator of our long-term economic and social future. View the full 2014 Kids Count Data Book
ZERO to THREE National Center for Children, Infants, and Families: State Baby Facts Montana
The facts about the 37,122 infants and toddlers in Montana tell us an important story of what is like to be a very young child in the state. View the full State Baby Facts: Montana Report
Executive Office of the President: The Economics of Early Childhood Investments
Early childhood, beginning in infancy, is a period of profound advances in reasoning, language acquisition, and problem solving, and importantly, a child’s environment can dramatically influence the degree and pace of these advances. By supporting development when children are very young, early childhood development and education programs can complement parental investments and produce large benefits to children, parents, and society. View the full Economics of Early Childhood Investments Report
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids: Savings Now, Savings Later
Businesses need employees who are job-ready, team-capable, and well-prepared – but we’re not getting them. This failing workforce pipeline can be repaired, but we have to start early. View the full Savings Now, Savings Later Report
Association of Child Poverty, Brain Development, and Academic Achievement
Abstract: “Children living in poverty generally perform poorly in school, with markedly lower standardized test scores and lower educational attainment. The longer children live in poverty, the greater their academic deficits. These patterns persist to adulthood, contributing to lifetime-reduced occupational attainment.” Read full study from JAMA Pediatrics.
Research Brief (July 2014): Adverse Childhood Experiences: National and State-Level Prevalence
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. In this brief, the authors describe the prevalence of one or more ACEs among children ages birth through 17, as reported by their parents, using nationally representative data from the 2011/12 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). They estimate the prevalence of eight specific ACEs for the U.S., contrasting the prevalence of specific ACEs among the states and between children of different age groups. Learn more about the ACEs Research Brief
The Heckman Equation
This website compiles and presents in accessible format the work of Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economics professor James Heckman, which seeks to understand the great gains to be had by investing in the early and equal development of human potential.