Kids Count Report: Critical Investments Needed to Help Children Succeed
Only one in every three children has the necessary cognitive skills by third grade to become a successful adult, according to a new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success. The report calls for critical investments to ensure that every child gets the right support to grow into a thriving adult.
Michigan's 1 million children from ages 0 to 8 benefit from some of the recommended supports during those critical early years, but a cohesive system with well-funded programs is not fully in place.
MCMCH Executive Director Amy Zaagman participated in a press conference with the Michigan League for Public Policy this week, announcing the report and calling on policymakers to support struggling families and their children's healthy development.
The report looks at a newly released analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten that tracked 13,000 children who were in kindergarten in 1998-99. By third grade, only 36 percent of children were on track in the cognitive knowledge and skills area. Fewer children in low-income families - only 19 percent - were on track by third grade, and only 14 percent of African American children and 19 percent of Hispanic children were on track.
Children who do not meet these key developmental milestones often struggle to catch up in school, graduate on time and become economically stable adults.
The study of 13,000 children did not have Michigan-specific numbers but other areas examined showed Michigan at about the national average. Fifty percent of Michigan's children up to age 8 live in households with income at or below 200 percent of poverty ($46,466 a year or less for a family of two adults and two children). That compares with 48 percent nationally. Three of every five (61 percent) of Michigan's low-income 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool, compared with 63 percent nationally.