Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-dawn-of-a-new-era-investing-in-early-childhood-helps-america-recover-and-grow/5018808/The American Recovery and Reinvest-ment Plan provides an important opportunity to help the United States get back on its feet by creating new jobs and supporting programs which provide essential services to young children and their families, while contributing to the economy of the country.
This transforming moment needs thoughtful planning. Community and statewide planning groups must assess needs and create a vision of what they want to accomplish, detailing expected outcomes. The good news is that states have been serving as laboratories of innovation over the past few years so new ideas are emerging everyday. The bad news is that state budgets have been stretched and quality and expansion seriously threatened.
Working across levels of government and funding streams, a plan of action should be put into place with input from a wide range of stakeholders. Investments should be tailored to the needs of children and families most affected by the economic slowdown and in ways that provide long-term and sustained impact.
A new era calls for a set of guiding principles that can result in a new way of thinking about early childhood. For example, we should:
• move to common standards and supports across early childhood programs
• recognize that ...