Adams, Squadron unveil early childhood development report

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and State Senator Daniel Squadron on Thursday, Feb. 2 unveiled a report authored by their Early Childhood Development Task Force that showcases statistical evidence for a greater financial investment in early childhood development, in particular on growth between ages birth and three years.

According to the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), it was estimated that there were 161,571 children ages birth to three years in Brooklyn as of 2010.

Standing with toddlers and teachers at Magical Years Early Childhood Development Center in Sunset Park, a nationally-accredited child care center providing full-day, year-round support for families, they detailed the importance of early life intervention on school readiness, emotional and social development, family health, economic growth, and public safety.

“To end the tale of two cities, we need to start at the very beginning,” Adams said. “The critical first moments of life are where the lasting rifts between the haves and the have nots already begin.

“New York City has made great strides in enrolling children in pre-k, but to ensure the success of that program, we need to engage mothers before they give birth and through the formative years,” he added. “Our report highlights the importance of early childhood services, and the positive impact in children’s lives, as a way to ensure that we are supporting our families from cradle to college and career.”

Squadron said investing in the early childhood years is “the best possible investment for our future — for families and the whole state.

“We know evidence-based programs like maternal home-visiting, including Nurse-Family Partnership, work, and I’m proud to stand with Borough President Adams, advocates, and organizations across the city to urge more investment in and support for these critical programs,” he said.

The report, which can be accessed online at brooklyn-usa.org, emphasizes the importance of a child’s earliest days in their brain development, which can have direct impacts on their life through adulthood.

Social and emotional interactions are also critical, with negative exposure creating a greater risk for cognitive impairment as well as adult conditions such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity, the report states.

It says that early childhood development programs such as center-based quality child care, Head Start, and early intervention have shown positive outcomes for children and their families.

In addition, the report says that maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting also provide expectant and new parents with the tools they need to care for and educate them.

The task force’s report reviewed the effectiveness of four research-based home visiting programs operating in New York State, including Healthy Families New York (HFNY), Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), Parents-as-Teachers (PAT), and The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP).

Overall, findings concluded that children engaged in early childhood development services show a reduction in language delays, increased readiness for pre-k and kindergarten, and increased test scores in grade school; conversely, at-risk youth without high-quality early childhood experiences are more likely to drop out of school and become teenage parents, while also less likely to attend college.

The report indicates that early childhood development programs were also linked to a decreased involvement in the criminal justice system and to significant increases in a mother’s employment rate and income.

More from Around NYC