Hey y’all! Happy July!

Recently, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published their annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Data Book provides a detailed picture of how children are faring in the United States, ranking states on overall child well-being and across four major domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. We improved in the Family and Community domain, seeing decreases in the number of children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, the number of children living in high-poverty areas and the number of teen births.

While I would love to say that this year’s release painted an overwhelmingly positive picture of where we stand, unfortunately that is not the case. Arkansas stayed the same or ranked worse than before in the Economic Well-Being, Education and Health domains. Arkansas now ranks 45th in the country in child well-being. While disappointing, this information is crucial to consider because we must know where we stand before we can move forward!

There are numerous ideas about how to enhance outcomes for children, all of which I believe, stem from concern for children’s wellbeing. However, it is our responsibility to advocate for research-based practices. It is our charge to ensure that stakeholders understand that providing developmentally appropriate, high-quality, early childhood education for children ages birth to 5 not only improves outcomes for children, but in many cases for their families as well. It is vital that we stand up for Arkansas’ children.

Thank you for all that you do, every day, for so many who cannot do for themselves. Your impact is greater than you will ever know!

I would love to hear from you! Email me at president@arkansasearlychildhood.org and let’s connect!

Natasha Kile
President of AECA

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