Ready, Set, Go: Investing in Infants and Toddlers
Ready, Set, Go: Investing in Infants and Toddlers is a three-part series by the Colorado Children’s Campaign that explores how the foundations for lifelong success start in the earliest stages of life, beginning with a healthy mother and continuing through early childhood. The briefs in this series offer policy recommendations to improve the quality of and access to the health, education, family and community supports that ensure children grow into healthy and strong individuals.
Ready: Prenatal Health and Care
Healthy infancy and childhood begin with prenatal care and a healthy mom. To be healthy, women need access to a safe home and community environment, nutritious food, safe places to exercise, and social support. They also need access to comprehensive health care that includes dental and mental health care. Investment in policies that promote health and wellness for all women sets the stage for healthy and productive Colorado kids.
In our first of three briefs, the Colorado Children’s Campaign makes a number of policy recommendations that emphasize the importance of prenatal care for the health and success of Colorado’s children and families. Topics explored include prenatal nutrition and physical activity, substance abuse, physical safety, access to healthcare coverage, oral health, and mental and emotional health.
Set: Birth and Healthy Development
The first three years in a child’s life are formative years of development. Brains develop more than at any other time in life, and the experiences children have during this period have a strong influence on their future social, emotional, and physical health. Safe environments, protective and loving relationships, and access to care all foster healthy development. Early investment in the health of Colorado children will lead to healthy thriving adults who will contribute to Colorado’s economic well-being.
The second brief in our Ready, Set, Go: Investing in Infants and Toddlers series makes policy recommendations related to these formative years. Topics of discussion include healthy births, developmental screenings, physical safety, immunization, nutrition and physical activity, health care coverage, and oral health.
Go: Quality Early Care and Learning
Building enriching, quality environments for infants and toddlers yields strong long-term academic results and decreases the likelihood of toxic stress and developmental delays in at-risk children. Stable, safe, and nurturing child care options enable parents to pursue employment and build strong families. When children get a strong start in life, the returns extend far beyond their own academic and life success. Investments in children between birth and age three achieve some of the best financial and social returns: healthier, happier children; a more educated population; a more productive workforce today; a more competitive workforce tomorrow; and a stronger and more stable Colorado economy.
The final brief in our three-part series provides policy recommendations that improve early learning and expand access to high-quality, affordable child care.