About Quality Care

Children cultivate 85% of their intellect, personality and skills by age 5. Sadly, thousands of young children in Milwaukee, especially those living in poverty, do not have access to or take advantage of quality early education and care. Inadequate early childhood care and lack of school readiness has major and costly consequences for Greater Milwaukee:

  • Poor academic achievement – According to the Education Trust, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., black children in Wisconsin had the lowest average score in the nation on the latest student achievement tests. The tests also showed a growing gap between black and white students here, which is the largest in the nation.
  • Crime – A recent study by the national nonprofit organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids reports that at-risk children who don't participate in early childhood programs are five times more likely to later commit violent crimes than similar kids who do.
  • Economic Development – High-quality preschool programs offer societal benefits that far outweigh program costs by improving education, employment, earnings and crime outcomes, according to the Washington, D.C.-based committee for Economic Development.

Research has clearly demonstrated the critical importance of early childhood learning, which has serious implications for public policy. According to the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families:

  • The human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period.
  • Mounting evidence indicates that effective, well-planned early care and education programs can positively supplement parents’ efforts, and have dramatic positive impacts on children’s school success.
  • A strong body of research indicates that investing in rich learning experiences for low-income children produces particularly high returns.
  • In a 2002 study conducted by the Wisconsin Child Care Research Partnership, only 15% of child care centers were rated as “good or excellent.” 74% were rated “mediocre.” 11% were rated “poor.”