NJ campaign aims to improve access to high-quality child care
The Right From The Start NJ campaign has kicked off, focusing on advocating for programs and services that support the early years of child development from birth to age 3.
Cecelia Zalkind, president of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says there is a perception that it is a parent's responsibility to look for child care so they can work. But she says education for these young children is important because of brain development.
"So when you're talking about the childcare system, it has to be high quality to maximize that brain development and appropriate growth for young children," says Zalkind.
With this campaign, a lot of the focus is on families who are low-income who need state assistance in accessing child care. She adds that the state system has not provided assistance at the level of quality child care for babies.
The campaign is a joint effort of the Nicholson Foundation, the Turrell Fund, the Caucus Educational Corporation and Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
Zalkind says one goal of the campaign is to increase state investments and programs for children and families.
The campaign has three broad areas: Ensure that children have a healthy start; ensure that parents are supported as their child's first and best teacher; and improve the child care system because that is the education system for young children.
She says children in New Jersey, especially babies under the age of 18 months, have little access for high-quality care.
"Since we are a state with many working families, our first goal is to increase the investment in infant care so that families can access high-quality child care for their babies," she said.
Parents can get involved with the campaign by going to the website www.rightfromthestartnj.org.
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