I was so thrilled to see Gov. Kim Reynolds discuss the importance of making child care more accessible for Iowa families.
As a volunteer with the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), I know how these investments can generate positive, long-term effects for children. A child’s brain is almost completely developed by age 5, which is a critical window for academic development and overall well-being. By enrolling children in high-quality early learning programs at an early age, we can ensure they will get a strong start and learn at the same level as their peers.
I participated in a SCAN Iowa State Advocacy Summit recently. One of the panelists described the work of the Iowa Women’s Foundation as they assist communities in seeking solutions for a variety of needs. Nine of the 18 communities selected child care as the prioritized need. According to the Foundation, about 25 percent of Iowans live in an area undersupplied with licensed or registered child care options. This impacts the ability of parents to work.
Now that the midterm election is over, the time for legislating will be here soon. I urge the Legislature to work with Gov. Reynolds to make child care and early learning programs a top budget priority in 2019.
Children may only be a quarter of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future.
Mary E. Airy