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With Nearly Half of State’s Youngest Children Living in Low-Income Households, It Is Time to Try a Two-Generation Approach, According to New Report

Oakland, CA – Cross-sector and agency collaboration, strategic leveraging of existing programs, and well-rounded, family-focused policies are emphasized in a new tactic to support low-income children and their parents in the report Creating Opportunities for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in partnership with Children Now.

With numerous public, privateand non-profit resources available, this report calls on California to streamline existing programs for the benefit of the state’s nearly 1.3 million low-income families with children under the age of 8. The report aims to highlight strategies to help families break multi-generation cycles of poverty by outlining paths to overcome the following challenges: a lack of access to reliable and high-quality early education and child care services, unreliable and inflexible jobs with wages insufficient to support a family and high stress levels for children and parents.

“High-quality early childhood programs – including wrap-around services for infants and toddlers, voluntary home visiting programs, early intervention services and access to quality preschools – are critical to supporting children and families, and help to address issues of inequality early in a child’s life,” said Ted Lempert, President of Children Now. “As a state and within our localities, we need to create a comprehensive infrastructure that addresses the complex needs of today’s children and families. If we continue our efforts in a fragmented manner, it will remain difficult to ensure all children have the quality supports they need to succeed.”

Educational attainment, starting in the earliest years, is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong success. With less than half of California’s 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool and roughly 1 out of 3 parents of children age 8 and under with no education past high school, it is extremely important that policymakers, communities and advocates strategize ways to target resources and efforts more efficiently and practically. The data below are markers of well-being for California’s youngest children and their parents. Data are pulled directly from the Two-Generation Approach report as well as Children Now’s recently released 2014-15 California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being.

The full report, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, will be available Nov. 12 at 12:01 a.m. EST at The 2014-15 California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being is available online.

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