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Early Childhood Development Is a Top Concern for US Cities
Detail: A new National League of Cities (NLC) survey shows that city leaders in the U.S. view early childhood development as a top priority. This study was released as part of NLC’s “Little Kids, Big Plans” week, October 19-25, which recognizes that early childhood experiences strongly influence success in school and adulthood.

Some of the key findings of the survey bear out that child care and early learning opportunities stand out as critical needs in America’s cities. One in four (25%) city officials cite child care as one of the most critical program or service needs for children and families in their community. More than one in 10 city officials rank preschool or early childhood education as the most critical need for children and families in their community.

Many cities and towns are also taking steps to promote early childhood development. The NLC survey findings show that despite the fact that early childhood programming has not traditionally been a municipal function, about four in 10 (38%) city officials report dedicating funds to early childhood development. Among larger cities (100,000 or more population), nearly two-thirds report allocating city resources to early childhood development.

More than one in five (20%) cities of all sizes, and more than four in 10 (42%) large cities, are directly involved in providing early childhood education services.

Municipal officials also believe that cities and towns have a clear stake in early childhood success. According to the survey of municipal officials, the reasons cited most often for investing in early childhood development are, children who enter school healthy and ready to learn tend to get better grades and have fewer behavioral problems and children who have positive early experiences are less likely to become juvenile delinquents.

See NLC website for full report.
Source: National League of Cities
Date: October 24 2003