2016 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book Release


November 15, 2016
For More Information Contact:
Stephanie Hogenson 612-978-7365 shogenson@childrensdefense.org

Research shows that investments in targeted, culturally relevant early childhood interventions and opportunities provide improved outcomes and significant future economic returns

Saint Paul, Minn. – Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) will release the 2016 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book: Tipping the Scales in Early Childhood at its KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour Kick-Off 10:00 a.m. today at La Créche Early Childhood Center in Minneapolis (1800 Olson Memorial Highway). This year’s Data Book focuses on research on the importance of early childhood development, data on the status of Minnesota’s youngest citizens, and programs and policies that support success in early childhood and throughout adulthood. Attendees of the release event will hear from a panel of community experts about investments, programs, policies and two-generation strategies that can improve outcomes to ensure Minnesota’s youngest citizens thrive and become productive future workers and citizens who support a prosperous economy.

The Data Book highlightsesearch that shows that investments in high-quality early childhood programs provide two-generation (parent and child) supports to ensure the healthy development of young children resulting in improved outcomes later in life and reduced need for remedial services later on. Studies show that such investments can generate returns of up to $16 for every $1 spent on prevention and intervention. Despite recent investments made by the state and calls from the governor and legislature to expand programs that provide access to high-quality early education like the Child Care Assistance Program, Early Learning Scholarships, and School Readiness Programs, more than half of all Minnesota’s three- and four-year-olds are not in preschool and children of color are enrolled at even lower rates.

“Growing bodies of research show the positive effects that early childhood programs such as  high-quality early education, family home visiting and early intervention services have on a young child’s brain and development, particularly when development has been disrupted by adverse experiences such as poverty, homelessness, hunger or violence,” said Stephanie Hogenson, CDF-MN Research and Policy Director. “Leveraging this research to support investments in early education programs and two-generation approaches to family and child success is the key to ensuring our state’s future workforce is prepared and our economy continues to be prosperous. Investments need to be targeted and culturally relevant for low-income children, children of color and American Indian children to tip the scales in early childhood, reduce disparities and increase opportunities later on in the lives of our children and the future of our state.”

The Data Book shows that adverse experiences that happen early in life have significant effect on brain development and, without early intervention, hinder immediate and long-term development. As a society, it’s imperative to have as many children as possible experience positive outcomes, and for some children that means stacking on more positive interventions and experiences to support resilience and counterbalance negative weights. Because the combination of genes and experiences shape a child’s development, families and communities have a significant influence on child outcomes.

Data featured in the book shows that children of color, American Indian children and low-income children are not only more at risk for adverse early experiences, but also often lack of access to quality experiences early in life, which compounds to increase disparities in early childhood and into adulthood. When these children are able to access early education opportunities they are more likely to meet math and reading standards, graduate from high school on time, and earn a college degree. Other two-generation programs and policies the Data Book highlights include Part C Early Intervention Services, trauma-informed services, paid family leave, family home visiting, Child Care Assistance, Early Learning Scholarships, and Head Start and Early Head Start.

“We must invest in programs and policies now that change the trajectory for children today to ensure our future workforce is prepared to succeed,” said Bharti Wahi, CDF-MN Executive Director. “Our future hinges on the success of young children and we can support the future now by investing in two-generation programs and policies including creating a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave Program so parents can care for newborn, newly adopted, or sick children without sacrificing economic security; investing in the Child Care Assistance Program to allow lower income parents to work while their children are in a safe, nurturing child care environment; and increasing the Minnesota Family Investment Program cash grant to our state’s poorest families for the first time in more than 30 years. When we make economic stability and opportunities more attainable for families with young children through work supports, targeted outreach, culturally relevant programming, and early interventions not only will more children thrive, but we will reduce costly later interventions and outcomes such as special education, criminal justice system involvement and chronic health issues.”

About the KIDS COUNT Data Book and KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour: Every year, CDF-MN publishes the Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book and fact sheets for all 87 Minnesota counties (available upon request) through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The book provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota’s children and families. The data serve as benchmarks of child well-being for policymakers and citizens and help to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. CDF-MN organizes an annual KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour around the release of the book to provide policymakers and citizens from around the state with the opportunity to learn about the data and engage on issues of child well-being. Learn more about KIDS COUNT here.

 

The KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour will visit the following cities:

Mankato - November 17
Willmar - November 22

Rochester – December 7
Owatonna – December 8

Bemidji – February 7 & 8
Brooklyn Center – February 9
Detroit Lakes, Duluth and Ely - details to come

Check on our events page for additional dates and details