New Study Shows Arizona and Florida Rank in Bottom Third for Overall Child Well-Being

Posted on: July 1, 2013

In laying  the foundation for success in school and beyond, the ages between birth and eight years old are the most critical in a child's development.  Ensuring young children have access to quality early learning environments, regardless of race, income or geography, provides many societal benefits.

However, according to a recent report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, both Arizona and Florida have work to do to ensure that all children are being given the opportunities they need to succeed. 

KidsCount 2013, a recently  released study  by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked Arizona 47th  and Florida 38th in overall child well being.  The overall well-being analysis looks at poverty, education, health, family and community factors.

Both states have seen little to no improvement from last year's report according to Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President and Program Director, Early Childhood Education Initiatives at Helios Education Foundation. 

"While these findings aren't surprising," said Ortiz, "they should be concerning to everyone in the early childhood arena.  Now more than ever, we must recognize the importance of the earliest years of life in setting the foundation for future academic success." 

Additionally, Arizona is 48th in the nation in the number of children, ages 3-5, attending preschool.  Florida ranks much better in this category, coming in at number 7. Studies show that high-quality early childhood education helps prepare young children to succeed in school and become better citizens; they earn more, pay more taxes and commit fewer crimes.  Preschool and kindergarten are keys to higher success rates later on in life.

The lack of access to high-quality, coordinated and aligned early childhood learning has a rippling effect on young children and on their ability to succeed in later grades.  Helios believes that from birth to eight years of age, a child is in the most significant development stage. Quality learning environments should be available regardless of race, income or geography, ensuring that more children will have success in school very early on and be reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

In 2012, Helios shifted its focus in the early childhood education impact area from programmatic funding to building a coordinated early childhood system of early learning opportunities for children, families, early childhood practitioners and teachers of children 0-8 across multiple communities.  The goal is to create coordination and alignment of services, programs and funding to develop a seamless system so children have greater opportunities to access high quality learning environments that give children the opportunity to succeed in the early grades regardless of their age, community or choice of early learning setting. 

"It is critical that our communities come together to  address the earliest years and strengthen early childhood systems so our children are better prepared to succeed across the education continuum,"  said Ortiz. 

To learn more about Helios Education Foundation's focus on early childhood education, click here.


Category: Early Grade Success

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