Researchers in psychology, neuroscience, and economics find that a child's earliest experiences, even before kindergarten, can have far-reaching effects, according to a new RAND report called "Making the Case for Investment in NH's Children."
Lynn Karoly, senior researcher for RAND, says investing in early years actually saves money later on. And, she says, the so-called "opportunity gap" in New Hampshire -- between kids who get a decent start in life and those who don't -- is wider than might be thought. Speaking on The Exchange, Karoly said she didn't expect this, given the state's relatively high per-capita income.
"But as I dug into the data, the statistics more, what’s quite evident is that those relatively positive indicators mask a sizeable number of children and families who are at risk, who are facing various stressors early in life and other kids of disadvantages. And so it’s important to dig down below those positive numbers, to see what’s happening, and to see where the need is."
Karoly’s study includes a cost-benefit analysis of what more early childhood investments would mean – for example, every dollar spent on a simple home-nurse visiting program for first-time, low-income mothers, would return $4 to $6, in terms of improved school performance and better health and career outcomes – later in that child’s life.
- Jackie Cowell - Executive Director of Early Learning NH, a statewide organization that advocates for child care programs and the families they serve.
- Lynn Karoly - Senior economist at Rand Corporation. She studies early care and education programs and author of a new report: "Making the Case for Investment in NH's Children," which will be presented to business and political leaders on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Bedford Village Inn.
- Tom Raffio - former chair of the State Board of Education and President and CEO of North East Delta Dental.
- Marty Ilg - Executive Director of Lakes Region Child Care Services, which includes childcare centers in Laconia, Belmont, and Plymouth, as well as before and after school programs.
- Katie Scherwin - Chief Operating Officer of W.S. Badger Company, based in Gilsum.
Lynn Karoly, Senior Economist from the RAND Corporation , will discuss her key findings at the Forum on Future, at the Bedford Village Inn, February 16, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. Karoly’s presentation will be followed by a panel focusing on advancing the recommendations in the report.
Legislative Luncheon will be held February 16, Noon – 2:00 p.m. at the Barley House.