Guided by our mission, vision, and values of social justice and equal access to opportunity, we are concentrating our efforts on increasing access to high-quality early childhood development experiences, especially for children who are being left behind.
We believe that providing high-quality support to families and children before birth and during the early years offers the best opportunity to influence children’s future trajectories. Research shows that effective early interventions for underserved children can promote positive development, increase opportunity, and greatly reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes later in life, such as disease, unemployment, and incarceration. Yet too few children who could benefit are not getting these supports. We know that fewer than half of the six million children in poverty under the age of five have access to early learning programs. For example, from 2011 to 2013, 63 percent of three- and four-year -old children who are living significantly below the federal poverty level in the United States were not enrolled in preschool. For these reasons, we are supporting early childhood work at the national level, focused on increasing access to quality early childhood interventions for children who are least likely to have these opportunities.
Specifically, we have funded evidence-based service programs, advocacy efforts to effect policy change at the state and federal levels, work to advance and connect early childhood data systems and infrastructure, efforts focused on improving the quality of early care and education, and research that can advance this field.