Early care and education - Child & Family Policy Center

Early care and education

The future prosperity of Iowa, and the U.S., depends on our ability to support the next generation. Affordable, high-quality child care and preschool provide a foundation for lifelong success. In fact, research confirms that investments in comprehensive early-childhood services are among the best investments we can make—by age four, 85 percent of the brain’s growth has occurred. But our current public investment during the early years is minimal. For every dollar spent on the education and development of a school-aged child, Iowa invests only 18 cents on children birth to age five; the U.S. invests even less at 16 cents.

CFPC has a long history of work around early care and education, from research on expanded preschool programs to advocating for child care assistance for low-income working families.


CFPC project highlights

This brief, "Preschool participation and third grade literacy," analyzes the relationship between parent-reported preschool participation and third-grade reading proficiency in Iowa. The data show that children with reported preschool participation were more likely to be proficient in reading in third grade than those who did not participate. But there is a much more substantial gap between students participating and not participating in the free and reduced-price lunch program, whether or not they participated in preschool. This suggests that preschool narrows, but does not close, the gap in educational performance of low-income and higher-income children.

Read more of CFPC's work on early care and education in our publications archive.


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