A child’s first few years are critical to his or her long-term education and earnings, but many of Philadelphia’s families can’t provide their children with the start they need.

Two-thirds of Philadelphia’s children are eligible for childcare subsidies, but only one-third actually receives them. Thousands sit on a waiting list as critical time passes by. Quality is also a problem: only 14.1 percent of the city’s childcare centers meet state high-performance standards. Philadelphia’s public preschool program serves only a quarter of the children who are eligible.

High levels of poverty increase the risk for developmental delays, but Philadelphia’s participation in support services provided by the Early Intervention (EI) program is the lowest in Pennsylvania.

Strategies

CEO and its partners will analyze school readiness trends, outcomes, and best practices and identify concentrations of needs. Using this information, it will develop a citywide plan to aid children in moving successfully from prekindergarten into elementary school. CEO will identify points of contact where parents can obtain information and referrals related to childhood development, quality pre-K options, afterschool and summer enrichment programs, and adult and child literacy. It will increase focus on promoting awareness and use of Early Intervention screening and referrals, early childhood education opportunities, and Keystone STARS evaluations of their quality. Also CEO will work with other organizations to gather data and analyze policy to effectively advocate for more state and federal funding for additional high-quality early childhood learning opportunities.