OKC summit speaker calls for investing early childhood developmen

Fixing some of Oklahoma’s biggest problems is best served by investing in early childhood development, especially in the first 1,000 days of life.

That was the message from various children’s advocates Wednesday at the Oklahoma Early Childhood Coalition Business Summit in Oklahoma City, organized by the Potts Family Foundation.

“If we are going to bend the curve on the problems facing kids in Oklahoma … the answer is to start early,” said Jim Priest, CEO of Sunbeam Family Services, who attended the summit.

Investing more in the physical, emotional and cognitive development of children birth to age 5 was championed as a way to improve Oklahoma’s bleak rankings in the areas of health, incarceration and skilled labor.

“Children are your future citizens, your employees, your job creators, your inventors,” said Dipesh Navsaria, a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin who was the summit’s keynote speaker. “If you don’t invest in the early brain you are saying you don’t think your society has a future.”

Playing up the connection between early childhood development and future economic success was a major theme at the summit and has become a popular talking point in urging state leaders to put more resources into the areas of child and family development, along with public education.

“It’s a way Democrats and Republicans can come together on the same side of the issue,” said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the Institute for Child Advocacy. “We can all agree to the importance of having a strong economy.”

The summit ended with specific ideas offered to improve early childhood development, which included a focus on multigenerational approaches, or the concept of helping parents as a way to also help children.

“We need to figure out a way to help support these parents getting back into college so we can fill these open jobs in Oklahoma,” said Monica Barczak with CAP Tulsa, who offered the idea of an Oklahoma Promise-type scholarship for adults returning to school.

Other recommendations included extending the state’s universal prekindergarten to 3-year-olds through private-public partnership in specific neighborhoods, along with prioritizing state funds that support high-risk families.

 

Source > https://www.additudemag.com/psychiatric-disorders-in-childhood-related-to-adult-addiction/

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