WOYC_BOS_1168x590This week marks the thirty-fifth annual Week of the Young Child, an event organized by the National Association for Education of Young Children to raise awareness about the importance of quality early care and education for young children, families, and communities.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors delivered a resolution about the WOYC to county early care and education leaders today. This group included representatives from Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department, Community Services Bureau’s Head Start and Child Development Program, Contra Costa County Local Planning and Advisory Council for Early Care and Education, Contra Costa Child Care Council, The Contra Costa County Office of Education and First 5 Contra Costa.

Here’s the proclamation:

Contra Costa County shares a dedication for every young child to have access to safe, healthy, quality  environments with passionate, educated, skilled, well-compensated and dedicated teachers.

The theme of the 2016 Week of the Young Child is Access to Quality, highlighting that today we know more than ever before about the importance of children’s earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.

We have known for decades that the 0-5 years are the most critical in every human’s life, when 90% of our brains are formed, when capacity for learning is unlimited and  our  potential boundless.

To achieve the best brain development, young children need to form secure bonds with the people who care for them.

It is difficult to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers when early care and education workforce wages are among the lowest nationwide. Nearly half of early educators (nationally) rely on public assistance to continue to teach and care for young children.

In Contra Costa, families struggle to make ends meet. Nearly 22% of Contra Costa County’s workforce are single mothers, and 52% of eligible families do not benefit from subsidized high-quality early education because there are not enough subsidies available. A minimum wage worker earning $10/hour spends 58% of their paycheck on child care costs.

Contra Costa County is committed to closing the gap for families to access high quality early learning. More than $80,000,000 in public funding for child care and early learning is invested in Contra Costa each year.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to recognize that the healthy development and education of all children is the responsibility of all of us, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment—at home, at child care, at school, and in the community—that will promote their early development.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors hereby declares April 10-16, 2016 the Week of the Young Child in Contra Costa County in honor of all of those committed to enhancing the lives of young children and their families, and encourages all citizens to support the investments for quality early care and education that will benefit all of Contra Costa’s families.