Healthy families, communities, economies depend on child care

Two boys have fun playing at a water table

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund looks for places in New Hampshire’s economy where some combination of loans and training can have the greatest impact for families and communities.

Child care is one of those places.

We invest in early care because quality, affordable early education is one of the surest ways to create opportunity for children, especially at-risk children, and is an essential element of healthy families, communities and economies.

“Early Childhood development programs are rarely portrayed as economic development initiatives, and we think that is a mistake. ...They should be at the top. Studies find that well-focused investments in early childhood development yield high public as well as private returns.”

"Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return," Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, March, 2003

Quality early experiences that engage children in healthy activities make the difference in how well children are prepared for school. Over the long term, children who have had quality early education have higher grades, better social skills, a greater ability to focus, and are more likely to attend college and to earn more money. They are less likely to need special educational services and to commit crimes as adults.

Aside from the positive effects that early education can have on a family, working parents rely on their child care providers to keep their infants and toddlers safe, healthy and learning while they’re at work. A January 2009 report by New Hampshire Employment Security estimated that about 43,000 parents with children under age 6 are able to work because they have child care.

Employers of parents whose children have quality care are more likely to retain their workers and have less absenteeism. Over a generation, they will have more highly educated workers available to them.

Economic experts from Nobel laureates to the Federal Reserve agree that early education also boosts economic development. Especially with at-risk children and families, they say, the return on investment in quality early childhood programs is greater than with other economic-development projects.