10 December 2009

Action Steps To Improve Child Well-being In Memphis: Call the White House Today!

Children’s early brain development occurs through a process of interaction between children and their environments. The quality of these environments and relationships shape the degree to which children’s brains will develop effectively. Children’s early developmental experiences build the foundations for their subsequent success in school and life.

More than half of the children born into our community every year are raised in families lacking access to resources that children need for healthy development. As a community, we need to understand that many of our problems stem directly from the earliest experiences of our children. We can’t wait- NOW is the time to invest wisely in our youngest citizens in order to achieve an ideal future for the city of Memphis.

The national financial plan is crucial to maintaining and expanding high-quality early childhood education programs, such as Early Head Start and early intervention programs for children with special requirements. In order to confirm that the federal 2011 national budget incorporates the monetary support that these programs need to assist vulnerable young children, we are encouraging all Shelby County citizens to communicate with the White House in order to advocate for early childhood issues.

Why contact the president NOW? The Obama cabinet is presently laboring over the financial plan suggestions for the next fiscal year and we need to guarantee that programs that serve infants and toddlers are penciled in. President Obama’s financial plan delivers a message to Congress regarding the issues that should be the primary expenditures during the next financial phase- fundamentally setting the model for what is incorporated into our national budget.

Why is expansion in these early childhood programs critical for the Memphis community? We have a tremendous number of susceptible young children who are not receiving federal services that could be hugely beneficial to families and the greater Shelby County community.

- Designed to promote healthy physical, emotional and cognitive growth for at-risk children, Early Head Start (EHS) has been shown to improve child developmental outcomes and strengthen parenting skills. Currently, less than one percent of eligible children in Shelby County have access to EHS.

- Early Intervention services support optimal early childhood development, and help families trying to provide for their children’s special needs. Approximately 2% of Shelby County children under three are enrolled in the Tennessee Early Intervention Service system. Recent estimates suggest that our community has a significant need to expand enrollment in services for children with disabilities or developmental delays.

You can help by asking for increased funding for Early Childhood Programs. Please take action today by contacting the White House in one of the two following ways:

1. Leave a message for the Obama administration on the White House Comments line. To call the White House Comments line, please dial 202-456-1111.

2. Send President Obama an e-mail in support of the expansion and maintenance of quality early childhood programs. To e-mail President Obama, fill out the form on this website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

For more information on the well-being of young children in Memphis and Shelby County, please visit The Urban Child Institute website at http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/Home.

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