No. 261
Session of
1 Recognizing April 6 through 12, 2024, as the "Week of the Young
2 Child" in Pennsylvania.
3 WHEREAS, The first years of life our brains grow faster than
4 any other time; and
5 WHEREAS, This is the foundation upon which all later
6 learning, behavior and health depend; and
7 WHEREAS, Children's cognitive, physical, social and emotional
8 and language and literacy development are built on a foundation
9 of children's positive interactions with adults, peers and their
10 environment; and
11 WHEREAS, There are 1.2 million children between birth and
12 eight years of age in this Commonwealth, 18% of whom live in
13 low-income families; and
14 WHEREAS, High-quality early childhood programs provide
15 important benefits to children, families and this Commonwealth
16 and national economies; and
17 WHEREAS, Participation in high-quality childhood education
18 saves taxpayer dollars, makes working families more economically
1 secure and prepares children to succeed in school, earn higher
2 wages and live healthier lives; and
3 WHEREAS, Parents will always be the most important influence
4 on their children, and there are nearly 796,000 working parents
5 with children under six years of age in this Commonwealth; and
6 WHEREAS, Evidence-based programs that strengthen our families
7 and ensure access to high-quality early care and education are
8 needed to maximize children's potential in the first five years;
9 and
10 WHEREAS, Despite the proven benefits of high-quality early
11 care and education, more eligible Pennsylvania children and
12 families need access to these services; and
13 WHEREAS, Just 2% of all children under six years of age and
14 only 7% of low-income children under six years of age are
15 receiving publicly funded, evidence-based home visiting
16 services; and
17 WHEREAS, Only 49% of subsidized children under five years of
18 age and 45% of subsidized infants and toddlers attend a high-
19 quality child-care program and only 46% of child-care capacity
20 in this Commonwealth meets high-quality standards; and
21 WHEREAS, Seventy-one percent of eligible children under five
22 years of age and 75% of eligible infants and toddlers are not
23 enrolled in the Child Care Works subsidized child-care program;
24 and
25 WHEREAS, Fifty-seven percent of eligible children three and
26 four years of age do not have access to high-quality
27 prekindergarten; and
28 WHEREAS, Early childhood educators and professionals should
29 be valued, respected and compensated for the important roles
30 they play; and
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1 WHEREAS, Many early childhood educators earn poverty-level
2 wages and do not have basic workplace benefits, including health
3 insurance and paid sick leave; and
4 WHEREAS, Twenty-one percent of child-care workers in this
5 Commonwealth make so little that they live in families accessing
6 public benefits; and
7 WHEREAS, Paying the costs of high-quality early childhood
8 education is a revenue-generating investment over time resulting
9 in a broad range of benefits that accrue to individuals and
10 society at large; and
11 WHEREAS, Payment rates provided to early childhood programs
12 to provide high-quality early care and education services to
13 low-income children do not cover the costs of quality; and
14 WHEREAS, The continued staffing crisis can be detrimental to
15 the quality of the environment, impacting the development of
16 young children and families' ability to work; and
17 WHEREAS, The lack of sufficient and sustained public
18 investment results in staffing shortages caused by low
19 compensation, which are leading to child care supply shortages
20 that negatively impact families' ability to work, children's
21 access to safe and quality care and educators' health and well-
22 being; and
23 WHEREAS, Young children need skilled, educated, competent,
24 consistent and compensated early childhood educators; and
25 WHEREAS, Working families need sufficient high-quality child-
26 care spaces beginning at birth to be available in the community;
27 and
28 WHEREAS, Early childhood educations need the ability to earn
29 a family-sustaining wage that is commensurate with the required
30 education and skills they bring to the complex and valuable work
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1 they do; therefore be it
2 RESOLVED, That the Senate recognize April 6 through 12, 2024,
3 as the "Week of the Young Child" in Pennsylvania.
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