Standing room only at the first meeting of the Maine Children’s Caucus.

Rep. Pouliot, Rob Grunewald, and Sen. Millett.

The Maine Children’s Caucus hit the ground running at their inaugural meeting this month, with a presentation from Federal Reserve economist Rob Grunewald to a captivated audience of state lawmakers. This bipartisan group of State Legislators founded by Sen. Rebecca Millett (D – Cape Elizabeth) and Rep. Matt Pouliot (R – Augusta) seeks to build an informed Legislature on early childhood issues and development so lawmakers can make the best decisions for Maine’s future. At the first meeting, Grunewald share some data, research and insight on why economists looking into labor and workforce are turning to early childhood.

“As economists that have been looking at issues around labor economics and workforce development, our eye in the past 15 years has really turned to this research around understanding how the brain develops and the implications these early years have on the ability of kids to learn in school, succeed in school, graduate from high school, and be successful in the workforce.” – Rob Grunewald

It turns out, that good economic policy is good child policy. Research shows that investing in early childhood yields substantial economic return on investment, as well as short and long-term benefits for that are good for all of us.

Since the early years lay the foundation for future brain development, investing in early childhood intervention, and programs can have a drastic effect on child outcomes and well-being, especially for vulnerable children. These children tend to experience fewer health problems and do better in school. All of this leads to state savings later on and a stronger, more capable workforce.

While these programs require public resources, Grunewald argues that by making these critical investments now, we will see impressive results later on, and the research backs him up.

Some Key Investments:

  •  Home visiting
  • Public Preschool
  • High-Quality Child Care
  • Parent Education
  • Child Welfare System
  • Health Care Access & Coverage

Next month, lawmakers will get a chance to hear about the brain science behind early childhood development from Dr. Judy Cameron, a brain scientist affiliated with the Harvard Center on the Developing Child.

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