Why Investments in Early Childhood Work

The data show that the greatest challenges facing our country – from school dropout rates, to crime to rising health-care costs, to the necessity of competing in the global marketplace – can only be met by focusing on the development of all our children, beginning at birth.

To the Ounce of Prevention Fund, the "achievement gap" is not a metaphor. It is a social outcome that we can see and measure.

Research shows that the achievement gap appears long before children reach kindergarten – in fact is can become evident as early as age nine months. And at-risk children who don't receive a high-quality early childhood education are:

  • 25% more likely to drop out of school
  • 40% more likely to become a teen parent
  • 50% more likely to be placed in special education
  • 60% more likely to never attend college
  • 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

Early childhood programs are the most cost-effective way to ensure the healthy development of children in poverty and offer the greatest returns to society.

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