In 2005, we launched our Success By 6 program – and made a commitment to support our youngest and most vulnerable children. We wanted to make sure the kind of quality early experiences that change lives were available, accessible and affordable.
The first few years of life are critical – children who don’t receive quality early care have lower graduation rates than those who do, and the difference is even more stark for girls and women.
More than that, quality care shows a significant return-on-investment – we see savings in fewer children repeating grades, lower criminal justice costs and a more productive, successful workforce. It adds up to a $4 to $9 return on every dollar invested.
Unfortunately, our community doesn’t invest enough in young children. Compared to cities like Seattle, San Francisco and San Antonio, our investments per child are shocking low.
And it shows: only 50 percent of children in Greater Austin are on-track to be ready for school. In low-income neighborhoods, that number drops to 13 percent. That’s why we’ve put together a portfolio of services to support children in all areas of their lives:
- We invest in evidence-based early childhood programs, including supporting 14 early care centers through our Center Project.
- We support parents, a child’s first teachers, by developing innovative programs like Play To Learn.
- We make sure our community is working together. In 2012, our supporters successfully advocated to restore $500K of public funding for our youngest and most vulnerable community members.
- We convened more than 300 local stakeholders to create the School Readiness Action Plan – an ambitious plan to increase the number of ready children to 70 percent by 2015.
Each year, we impact nearly 10,000 lives – parents, teachers and children who shape the future of our community. In our program, 90 percent of children are on track to be school ready.
We do all this because we know happy, smart kids make Austin greater.