• February 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 2

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Helping Young Children Succeed

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently published a new KIDS COUNT Policy Report addressing the importance of investing in the earliest years of child development. A child's first 8 years are especially critical for fostering the cognitive, social, and emotional skills, as well as the good physical health, that lay the foundation for positive growth at later ages.

The report calls for an integrated and comprehensive system of services that meets the needs of all U.S. children between birth and 8 years of age, as well as their families. An effective early childhood system should integrate a wide variety of evidence-based programs that have demonstrated positive outcomes for families with young children. In order to meet the needs of all of the country's children, systems should focus on three primary goals:

  1. Supporting parents who are caring for their children
  2. Increasing child and family access to quality early care and education, health care, and other services
  3. Ensuring that care is comprehensive and coordinated for all children between birth and 8 years of age

The full report further outlines specific strategies that fall under each of the three main goals and concludes by emphasizing the need for stakeholders to invest in early childhood development to prevent the need to address issues that arise later on in life. Furthermore, policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels should inform their legislative efforts using evidence from best practices within the early childhood education and development fields.

The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, along with other KIDS COUNT data and research reports, is available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:


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