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The District Dime Blog: DC Should Fund a Better Start for Struggling Young Children

May 4, 2016

Children’s Law Center policy attorney Renee Murphy highlighted the urgent need for continued funding of the Strong Start/DC Early Intervention Program in her guest blog for the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.

The Mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget adds some money to the program but it is not enough to keep up with the numbers of children who need early intervention services. Also, the Mayor’s budget fails to fund an expansion of the program that was planned by the DC Council.

The DC Council should invest $6.5 million to maintain and expand this program. These dollars will be a wise investment in our children and our schools.

First, it would allow the District to invest in children during the years when intervention can make a critical difference in their future. Birth to age three is a crucial time of rapid brain and body growth. In DC, too many babies and toddlers have unaddressed developmental delays and, as a result, start school behind.

The good news is that 46 percent of children who get early intervention services completely catch up and several years later they are still doing as well as peers, according to national research. For other, more severely delayed or disabled children, getting help earlyimproves their expected skills. This is a truly effective way to start children strong.

Follow the link below to read the full blog: