Gov. Wolf administration releases Ready to Start Task Force report with priorities to help youngest Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WENY) -- Governor Wolf is making the little ones a big priority in the Keystone State.
The Ready to Start Task force introduced a four-year framework to support Pennsylvania's youngest resident, infants and toddlers.
After a series of listening sessions, representatives of early childhood advocacy and education communities compiled a list of strategies. Seven priorities have since come to the forefront.
1. Increase availability of high-quality childcare and home-visiting service slots.
2. Improve early intervention quality and streamlining to enhance availability, alignment, integration and coordination of services.
3. Increase recruitment, retention, development, support and training of early childhood education professionals.
4. Better utilize Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and state regulatory powers to address the risks to infants and toddlers posed by harmful environmental contaminants, including lead.
5. Promote education, engagement, and support of parents and families as children’s first teachers.
6. Improve information, outreach, and access to services.
7. Promote sustainable systems of care to support the health and well-being of all children and women of child-bearing age.
With these priorities established, a work group will meet monthly to develop measurable goals and progress toward this list.
Research shows that a child's brain develops faster in the first three years than at any later period in life.