Eric Adams (165061)
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Special to the AmNews

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams convened the first meeting of the Brooklyn Task Force on Early Childhood Development, aimed at promoting the healthy growth of Brooklynites, from pre-natal to age 3, along with their families, Sept. 26.

Adams is also aiming to expand existing evidence-based development programs and hopes to bring new programs to children and families across the borough.

In the months ahead, the task force will be working on making policy recommendations to Adams that address family risk factors for adversity that can impair early childhood development, such as illiteracy, mental illness and poverty.

Adams spoke about the importance of this effort, which will include creating a resource guide of evidence-based early childhood development programs available in Brooklyn.

“Raising healthy children and families requires sustained support through all the critical stages of early childhood development, from a baby’s first kick in the womb to a preschooler’s first recitation of the alphabet,” said Adams in a press release. “At a time when our city is embracing the importance of a child’s early growth to their lifelong potential, exemplified by the provision of universal access to full-day pre-kindergarten, it is imperative that we push even further to identify and strengthen the factors that correlate with holistically healthy development. Working with state senator [Daniel] Squadron and the members of the Brooklyn Task Force on Early Childhood Development, we will put a spotlight on our youngest Brooklynites to ensure parents and guardians are properly educated and equipped to nurture them best.”

Adams is co-chairing the task force with state Sen. Daniel Squadron, a leading voice in the New York Legislature for early childhood development initiatives such as universal home visiting.

The Parent-Child Home Program, a social services organization providing home-based literacy education and parenting support for underserved families, is the lead partner among the group of participants, which includes practitioners such as Nurse-Family Partnership, as well as advocates, community stakeholders and local hospitals.

“The early childhood pre-natal to pre-K years have been shown time and again to be critical in later life outcomes,” said Squadron. “Universal access to effective programs like maternal home visiting, including Nurse-Family Partnership, which links high-risk, first-time moms with nurse home visitors, is vital to creating better outcomes for children and families in Brooklyn and beyond. I thank Borough President Adams, participating task force members, colleagues and families around the borough for working with me to continue the push for universal access.”

“Unfortunately, the gap that exists for too many children in this city is much bigger than a gap in the number of words heard or spoken,” said Sarah Walzer, executive director of PCHP. “It is a gap in developing pre-reading and early math skills, a gap in developing the social-emotional skills necessary to succeed in a classroom setting, a gap in knowledge as to what is expected of them when they arrive at the schoolhouse door. The task force that Borough President Adams and Senator Squadron are launching today has a vital role to play in bridging all of these gaps and ensuring that all of Brooklyn’s children have the opportunity to enter school ready to succeed. We look forward to working with them to make this success happen.”

Adams highlighted the lasting impact of sustained investment in infants’ cognitive, emotional, mental and social development, noting research has shown children participating in early learning programs have significantly fewer needs related to corrections, special education or welfare than their counterparts. Additionally, he noted that investing early in children’s futures can result in increased tax revenues later in life, along with decreased public expenditures on social services.