- Casey report recommends connecting families with early education services
ALBUQUERQUE—More than half of New Mexico families with children under age eight are low-income. A new KIDS COUNT report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at the challenges faced by the 10 million families nationwide who are just trying to make ends meet. The report looks at two-generation solutions, meaning they address the needs of both the young children and their working parents.
“The early years in a child’s life are so critical to shaping that child’s future,” said Veronica C. García, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children (NMVC), which is a grantee of the Casey Foundation. “What that child experiences—both the good and the bad—will have an enormous impact on his or her potential for future success. Unfortunately, our high rates of child poverty and child hunger, and other adverse conditions harm our children. We need to balance those experiences with positive building blocks like home visiting, high-quality child care and pre-kindergarten.”
The Casey Foundation’s report focuses on the importance of delivering these early childhood services while simultaneously providing parents with access to job training, career paths, and other tools that enable them to support their families.
The report conclusions are based on data that were provided separately. In New Mexico there are approximately 154,900 families with children ages eight and younger. Of these families:
- 54 percent are low-income;
- 11 percent have resident parents without high school diplomas;
- 35 percent are headed by a single parent;
- 12 percent are headed by parents younger than age 25; and
- One-third live in housing that places a high cost burden on them.
“Investments in low-income families provide multiple benefits to the state as a whole,” Dr. García said. “High-quality early childhood services save us much more money in future spending than they cost and would improve our school and college outcomes. This helps us raise a well-educated future workforce. Similarly, when parents get more education and job training, we build the kind of workforce our businesses need to thrive, while families with higher incomes become the kinds of consumers that help our businesses grow. Educating parents also has a dual benefit. Their education has a positive impact on their children, who are more likely to do well in school. It’s a win-win all around.”
The Casey Foundation’s report, “Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach,” is available here.
KIDS COUNT is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Find more information at www.nmvoices.org.