Birth to age 5 is a critical period for a child’s future development
The Maine Children’s Alliance, in collaboration with the Maine Children’s Growth Council, released its third annual data report on school readiness. The data report focuses on indicators of school readiness and informs the Council’s continuing work.
Among the significant indicators in the 2012 report are the child poverty rate, childhood immunizations, and early intervention. “Birth to age 5 is a critical period for a child’s future development. Maine is doing well in some respects, but falls behind in others when it comes to addressing the needs of children during their early years,” said Judith Reidt-Parker, early childhood policy analyst for the Maine Children’s Alliance and one of the authors of the report.
“Maine continues to be ahead of the curve in providing pre-natal care to pregnant women, with 87 percent of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in our state versus 71 percent nationally,” said Reidt-Parker. “Of concern is that 23.5 percent of Maine children under 5 lived in poverty in 2010. Poverty plays a key role in children’s well-being and is related to most school readiness indicators.”
The 2012 School Readiness Report was presented during a teleconference call on October 1, 2012 at 12 pm. Featured speakers included Reidt-Parker, Ed Cervone and Claire Berkowitz, Research & KIDS COUNT Director at MCA.
Ed Cervone, interim president of the Maine Development Foundation (MDF) and co-chair of the council, emphasized the benefits of maintaining the state’s commitment to young children. “Investing in children creates healthier, more productive citizens and can lead to a stronger Maine economy as well. The findings in this report determine how to best maximize our children’s future success.”
Earlier this year, MDF published the report, Making Maine Work: Investment in Young Children = Real Economic Development. The report makes a compelling case for Maine to invest in high quality early childhood development as a lead economic development strategy for the state.
Participants in the teleconference were given opportunity to ask questions or make comments regarding the school readiness report. The newly initiated Maine Vaccine Board was highlighted as a potential for improving immunization rates. In addition, the challenge of aligning quality standards for early care and education and public pre-k was discussed.
The Maine Children’s Growth Council is comprised of business leaders, higher education representatives, legislators, philanthropists and early childhood professionals dedicated to improving the systems that serve Maine’s youngest citizens.
To access the report online, visit School Readiness.
For more information, contact: Judy Reidt-Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-623-1868 x210 (work) or 207-215-9556 (cell).