For children, for justice, for freedom

It was once believed that every person is born with a certain level of intelligence. But recent research in brain development has shown that a person's potential is largely formed by what happens from the prenatal period through age 5. Experiences during these formative years create neural connections, or synapses, that lay down circuits for future learning. Likewise, infancy and the first years of life are critical for identifying and alleviating impairments. A toddler born with hearing loss and fitted early with a hearing aid, for example, is more likely to develop normal language skills than a child whose hearing loss goes undetected.

Poverty

Unfortunately, many children in America don't have access to high quality care and education. One in five children grows up in poverty. These children lack proper nutrition, health care, and interaction with adults. With little or no stimulation for their developing brains, these children start to school way behind their peers.

Neglect and Abuse

One in four American children, including those in middle class and affluent families, lives with alcoholism or alcohol abuse in their families. These children are at risk for behavior problems, poor school performance, and economic hardship. In some families, regardless of alcohol or drug problems, children are abused or neglected - by family members who themselves were abused or neglected as children.

A Solution: Early Childhood Programs

Children have no choice about where or how they grow up. Powerless to speak or act in their own behalf, they are the most vulnerable of all our people. This injustice need not continue. Research has shown that early intervention and high quality preschool can enable children to flourish. Longitudinal studies reveal that even the poorest children who participate in good early childhood programs are more likely than their unenrolled peers to complete higher levels of education, earn higher incomes, enjoy better health, have more stable relationships, and be more law-abiding when they become adults.