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Upstream solutions

An unlevel playing field.

Many factors contribute to shaping a child's first few years of life. These factors begin even before the child is born and span both the family and community environment. Children raised in poverty and under-resourced environments experience an accumulation of disadvantages including higher rates of low birth weight, unstable family structures, trauma, and poor academic performance, which according to the Children's Defense Fund (CD), places "these children in a trajectory that leads to marginalized lives, imprisonment and often premature death." As CDF puts it, "They were not derailed from the right track; they never got on it."
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Studies also demonstrate that children from households lacking adequate financial resources and support services experience a significantly higher rate of Adverse Childhood Events (or
ACEs) such as neglect, abuse, and exposure to violence. ACEs have significant life-long impacts on physical and mental health as an adult.

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Childhood experiences are the foundations upon which we view and build our interactions with the world. They are what nurture us, or scar us, and ultimately make us who we are today. 
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Return on Investment

Investing Upstream Also Makes Economic Cents

Studies have consistently demonstrated that investments in early childhood development have the highest economic return. Nobel Prize winner and Economics Professor James Heckman demonstrated that investing in early childhood education can result in a 7% to 10% per year return on investment, with a 13% return for programs focused on the first five years of a child's life. This is more than the average annual return on the stock market. Expanded investment in these programs would actually stimulate the economy and reduce that national deficit by increasing productivity and tax revenue in addition to reducing costs in social services, health care, and the criminal justice system.

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