New Report: Employing and Engaging Families with Young Children, 2024

Impact on Children

Quality Child Care Helps Keep Children on Track

Quality child care is a two-generation workforce issue,
essential for parents to work and a critical foundation of
early learning and development for young children.


In today’s economy, accessible, affordable, high-quality child care is critical infrastructure. PA families need child care to work, and PA employers need child care to ensure their workforce needs are met. Further, high-quality care and early education help prepare children for school and life success by supporting them during a critical period for brain development – prenatal to age five.

Child care helps keep children on track for a successful future.

During children’s earliest years, their experiences are built into their bodies — shaping the brain’s architecture and creating the foundation for future learning and health. Everything a child experiences from birth impacts that child’s ability to fulfill his or her potential.

By the time a child turns eight, his or her third-grade reading outcomes can predict future academic achievement and career success. Yet in Pennsylvania, only 40% of third-graders are reading at or above proficiency as of 2019. For Black children, the number drops to 17%, and for Hispanic children, the number drops to 18%, showcasing the disparities in our education system.
  • Only 44% of PA’s high-school graduates met the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks in 2019.
  • High-quality child care and early learning programs help children:
    • advance language and pre-math skills;
    • advance social and executive functioning skills, such as the ability to plan, focus, and work collaboratively;
    • and adjust easier to kindergarten.
  • The return on investment is substantial. Research by Dr. James Heckman, a Harvard economist, and professor, shows an ROI of 13% for investments in high-quality early childhood programs – a higher ROI than other infrastructure investments such as roads or housing investments.
  • By supporting families’ child care needs, you can help to ensure the next generation of workers is ready to succeed.


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State & Local Data on Quality Early Learning

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Research Summary: The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program


What is Early Childhood Development? A Guide to the Science