Our country was founded on the ideal that all of its children are born equal, and that they begin life with the same potential to achieve the American dream of a happy and successful life. However, we now know that children born into families marked by food insecurity and poverty, mental illness, parental separation, and neglect, and who live in home environments with mold and lead paint, or in neighborhoods characterized by drug abuse and violence, are destined to begin life’s journey with developmental challenges that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Decades of research on child development, coupled with a worldwide COVID 19 pandemic, have brought us to a watershed moment by clearly illuminating the structural inequities facing young children and their families, while simultaneously reinforcing the causes of and correlations between lifelong negative outcomes and children who grow up facing adversity.
We have long acknowledged the critical importance of the early years of a child’s life. These years set the stage for a lifetime of outcomes in educational attainment, economic security, health, and social/emotional well-being. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of our Northwest Corner children are faced with developmental obstacles that have long-term, adverse consequences for them. Further, many of our parents and other family members, as primary caregivers, struggle with challenges that can also affect their children’s optimal development.
Recognizing an opportunity to seize this moment, the Foundation’s Board of Directors has embraced a more robust early childhood agenda for our region. This work is intended to improve life outcomes for our community's children and families and to create a level of regional cooperation that will maximize our individual efforts through collective action and advocacy.
Read the Full Report on Well-Being in Northwest Connecticut