Nurture for Their Future : the Importance of Strengthening Young Children's Relationships With Parents and Caregivers / Voices for Illinois Children.

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Voices for Illinois Children.
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Positive interactions with adults during the first three years of life are vital for healthy emotional, social, and intellectual development. Research has found that 85 percent of the neurons in the brain that contribute to academic success are formed by the age of three years old. However, public funding for children's services is lowest for this age group. This guide describes policies that should be implemented by the state of Illinois to promote nurturing relationships that help children to develop. The suggestions address methods for strengthening parent-child attachments, supporting children with special needs, and improving early childhood programs. Strategies include expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to permit parents to spend more time with their children; increasing home visitation services and parent education programs; providing child care assistance for parents and reimbursements for child care providers; offering incentives for child care facilities to hire qualified staff; increasing funding for Early Head Start programs; and developing resources for child care facility personnel and home-based providers. The federal government is urged to affirm and increase funding for Child Care Development Block Grants and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Advocates should stay informed, network with other persons interested in early childhood development, communicate with local news media, and contact policymakers. 24 notes.

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