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Want a booming economy? Invest in early childhood development

July 3, 2018
Kim Doleatto
GateHouse Media

Why would an accounting firm include child well-being in their investment portfolio?

Because it understands its longevity relies on children to grow into adult consumers, potential employees and active members of the community.

That’s why KPMG, a global accounting firm, is one of more than 2,000 businesses who have partnered with ReadyNation, a national nonprofit that brings businesses together to push the case for investing in early child development.

ReadyNation leverages the influence and expertise of business executives to lobby for policies and programs that build a stronger workforce, starting at the source.

“High-quality care and education for young children is the first step toward building a strong workforce,” said Dr. Sara Watson, global director of ReadyNation. “A very substantial body of research shows that early childhood support, for disadvantaged kids in particular, makes a tremendous difference in terms of growing to be productive adults.”

It also makes good economic sense: A report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that high-quality state and local preschool programs can have, on average, a net return of over $34,000 per child served.

Similar returns are made when kids can access health insurance that allows them to get preventive care rather than curing illnesses that may worsen without it. That’s why ReadyNation members were part of the recent push for the renewal of federal safety net programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. Both serve low-income families.

At the local level, ReadyNation’s B2B communication model offers members ideas on what their companies can do for kids in their own community. Toolkits and member case studies offer corporate leaders guidance on how to identify need and roll out a plan.

“We know there’s a link between the first five years and reading on grade-level by third grade which, in the long run, makes them good workers,” Watson said.