BUILD Initiative Blog | What We're Reading - March 5
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILDing Strong Foundations

BUILD Initiative Blog




Large numbers of immigrant children and their families are experiencing serious problems - inadequate education, poor physical and mental health, and poverty. Although participation in early childhood education programs can offset some of these problems, immigrant children attend such programs at lower rates than  children of U.S.-born citizens. These factors have contributed to significant achievement disparities between immigrant children and non-immigrant children.

CLASP: Our Children’s Fear: Immigration Policy’s Effects on Young Children

This study from CLASP was motivated by widespread reports that children and families are being harmed by the Trump Administration’s immigration policy priorities. We confirmed many of these reports after speaking with 150 early childhood educators and parents in six states—California, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Children of immigrants matter to America’s future, so our public policies must be designed to ensure that all children are able to achieve their full potential. Without changing course, we as a nation will also pay a heavy price as our future prosperity will be largely determined by the extent to which our increasingly diverse U.S. child population is able to succeed.

CLASP: Immigration Policy’s Harmful Impacts on Early Care and Education

CLASP conducted the first ever multi-state study of the effects of the current immigration climate on young children under age 8. In 2017, CLASP interviewed early care and education providers, community-based social service providers, and immigrant parents in six states. Our findings, detailed in Our Children’s Fear: Immigration Policy’s Effects on Young Children, reveal a distressing picture of fear, stress, and unease that occupy the minds of millions of young children and their parents daily. This stress—and other documented hardships—puts children’s growth and development at great risk with the potential for impacts that last well into adulthood.

Racial Equity

At the time they enter kindergarten, many young children face gaps that exist - by income, race/ethnicity, language, and culture - in child outcomes and opportunities, as well as in system capacity and response. Closing these gaps is fundamental to the success of each child and of the United States as a nation. BUILD supports state leaders through tailored technical assistance, capacity building, and peer learning opportunities to support them in doing so. These resources can help build and expand your state's focus on equity in systems.

Boston Herald: Study: US inequality persists 50 years after landmark report

The new report blames U.S. policymakers and elected officials, saying they're not doing enough to heed the warning on deepening poverty and inequality that was highlighted by the Kerner Commission five decades ago and it lists areas where the country has seen "a lack of or reversal of progress."

Early Learning

Children must reach critical health and well-being benchmarks in order to thrive, be ready for kindergarten, and read at grade level by third grade. BUILD knows that families and communities are the primary source of this foundational support for children. We help state leaders create safe, healthy, nurturing early learning experiences for all children – to better support families and communities. This “whole-systems” approach includes an emphasis on: primary and preventive health care, early intervention, and quality early care and education. That is why  BUILD Initiative assists states in focusing on standards and assessment, including kindergarten entry assessmentearly care and education, with a focus on infant/toddler and pre-K services, programs and policies; and family, friend and neighbor care

Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health: Engaging Early Childhood Providers to Improve Developmental Outcomes

Embedding developmental surveillance and screening within a comprehensive, INTEGRATED process of promotion, early detection, referral and linkage that engages all early childhood providers and promotes a universal approach will maximize societal value and impact. For that reason, recent attention has focused on the need to engage early care and education (ECE) providers as part of this system: they experience ongoing and longitudinal access to young children, share trusting relationships with parents and caregivers, and may often be the first to notice a developmental or behavioral concern in a child. Yet, to date, efforts to provide training and support to this sector are limited, and where they exist, efforts to engage ECE providers in screening in isolation will, we believe, do little to truly improve outcomes unless they are embedded in a broader system to support early detection, referral, and linkage.

Education Week: How Much Would High-Quality, Universal Early Care Cost? Try $140 Billion a Year.

It's a big ask. To put the number in perspective, the country currently spends about $29 billion from federal and state sources on early-childhood education and care. The $140 billion number adds up to about three-quarters of a percent of the United States' gross domestic product. That said, other industrialized nations spend about that much, or more, on child care and early education. 

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