First-rate child care presents the hope of a satisfying outlook by providing our youngest citizens nuturance, support for cognitive growth, preparation for the educational system, and the chance for all infants and toddlers to achieve at their maximum ability. Child care is not seen as merely a primary service for families, but a stimulating occasion to foster the early development of young children. Science suggests that the strongest outcomes of first-rate child care are found with at-risk children- children from families with limited assets and under extensive strain. Policymakers can respond now to guarantee that parents are able to embrace the capability of first-rate child care for their infants and toddlers.
Fast Facts (The Urban Child Institute [TUCI], 2008):
- Approximately 20,000 improverished children under age five live in Shelby County.
- In our community, about 45% of 3- and 4- year- olds spend part of each day in non-parental care.
- Only about 30% of child-care centers in Shelby County hold a 3-star rating through the Tennessee quality star system. Three stars identify the highest rank and validate that a center meets or exceeds Tennessee's standards for child-adult ratios, curriculum, safety and teacher qualifications.
Policy Suggestions (Zero to Three, 2009):
- Increase wages for educators working with young children.
- Allot satisfactory financing so that rates can be set at the levels needed for centers to administer first-rate infant and toddler care.
- Support studies and evaluations that examine infant and toddler child care sources and conditions.
The Urban Child Institute. (2008). The State of Children in Memphis and Shelby County: Data Book. Memphis, TN: The Urban Child Institute.
Zero to Three. (2009). Early Experiences Matter Policy Guide. Washington, DC: Zero to Three.
For more information on the well-being of children in Memphis and Shelby County, visit The Urban Child Institute at http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org.