Imagine if all children in Monterey County live in safe, nurturing homes and communities and are healthy, valued, successful in school and realize their full potential. That is the vision of the Monterey County Children’s Council and Bright Beginnings.
Bright Beginnings is an opportunity for the community as a whole to work together to ensure that young children, from the prenatal stage through age 8, have what they need to succeed. Bright Beginnings aims to maximize community efforts to improve early childhood development outcomes through effective coordination, capacity building, empowerment and strategic action for children and their families.
Research confirms that investment in early childhood development, especially for children who are from socio-economically disadvantaged families, pays extremely high returns. It improves not only their cognitive abilities, but also crucial behavioral traits like sociability, motivation, and self-esteem. Studies that have followed children through their adult lives confirm enormous payoffs for these investments, whether measured in success in college, higher income, or lower incarceration rates.
2015-2016 was the first year of external evaluations for Bright Beginnings. Spark Policy Institute, the external evaluator, conducted a mid-year and end of the year evaluation of the Bright Beginnings initiative. These external evaluations have helped Bright Beginnings craft the Bright Beginnings’ Strategic Work Plan that will be implemented through January 2018.
“Policymakers should invest in early childhood where rate of return on the dollar is the greatest.” – James Heckman
For more information about the importance of investing early childhood, please see the following resources:
- Event Video
- PowerPoint presentation with Prof. Heckman’s private notes
- Two page handout
- Heckman Equation website
- Board of Supervisors Legislative Priority 2013-2014