Saludos Hispanos

S A L U D O S H I S P A N O S poor and minority children—is more critical than ever. But right now less than half of those eligible for Head Start and fewer than 3 percent of those eligible for Early Head Start, a program for infants and toddlers, are enrolled. Poor children are already behind their higher income peers in cognitive development at nine months old; the gap is even wider by 24 months. By kindergarten, poor children have to beat the odds to catch up—and as the testing shows, many never do. Quality, comprehensive child development programs are crucial for the physical, emotional, and educational health of all children—especially poor and at-risk children. Extensive research also shows that early childhood programs significantly increase a child's chances of avoiding the prison pipeline that Angie now studies as a policy expert, and investments in quality early education can produce a rate of return to society significantly higher than returns to most stock market investments or traditional economic development projects. - Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch Column In 2020, Congress’s passed a bill to fund historic investment in Head Start which includes a record-setting $10.6 billion for the early childhood development program for at-risk infants, young children, and their families. The bipartisan agreement also dedicates $250 million in new resources to expanding Head Start’s ability to provide trauma-informed care to the increasing number of children experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), with regards to issues such as the opioid epidemic. The increased funding level for Head Start comes after many years of debate, but in the end, more than 200 members of Congress—both Republicans and Democrats—signed letters of support to congressional appropriators advocating for robust funding in fiscal year 2020 for Head Start. Numerous recent reports and studies demonstrate Head Start’s effectiveness in supporting at-risk children and families on their paths to success in school and life. By involving the whole family in a child’s education and development through an emphasis on parent engagement, Head Start strengthens families and local communities. - Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch Column