When public resources are stretched thin, essential programs for young children often lose out in the budget process. But as our economy is being dramatically reshaped, investments in early childhood programs are more critical than ever.
This brief demonstrates how investing in early childhood development helps save states money in the short and longterm, acts as an economic stimulus and positions states to compete and thrive in our changing economic landscape.
Research shows that public funding for quality home visiting and early learning benefits taxpayers in as little as a year after children and families have received services. It costs the state when children repeat grades, but investing in pre-k programs reduces the number of children requiring special education and the percentage of children held back. Because child care and pre-k professionals tend to spend much of their earnings locally, their wages benefit the entire community.
As policy makers are forced to make difficult economic decisions, priority should go to early childhood programs whose demonstrated economic and societal benefits save money now and generate future revenue.