A recent report,“Infants and Toddlers in the District of Columbia: A Statistical Look at Needs and Disparities,” commissioned by the Bethesda-based Bainum Family Foundation reveals that the achievement gap between children in the District begins long before they attend school for the first time. While the District leads the nation in providing access to universal preschool, many children in the District’s most impoverished neighborhoods come to those programs with challenges.
The report compared federal and local data about infants and toddlers living in Ward 3, the District’s wealthiest neighborhood, and Wards 7 and 8, the District’s poorest areas. The report found that infants and toddlers in Wards 7 and 8 are more likely than their counterparts in Ward 3 to live in poverty, be the children of unmarried, teenage mothers, and experience abuse and neglect. According to the report, these factors have negative impacts on a child’s brain development and overall development.
The Bainum Family Foundation has set aside $10 million over 5 years to strengthen early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers in the most impoverished areas. The programs include home-visit programs and more quality child-care programs.
The report’s findings are significant because they confirm that poverty does affect children’s development. In addition, the report signals that children growing up in poverty need more than strong teachers to be successful.They need access to critical programs and services starting long before they enter a school for the first time.
For the entire report: http://bainumfdn.org/a-tale-of-two-cities-bainum-report-details-status-of-the-districts-youngest-residents/