Quality early childhood education helps ensure that the critical development stage from birth to age 5—when 90% of a child’s brain develops—is an enriching and educational experience that prepares children to build relationships, learn in school, and graduate ready for college or careers. Quality child care is especially critical to close the achievement gap among low- and moderate-income children and to allow working parents to maintain employment. Given the many benefits of high-quality early childhood education experiences, initiatives to expand these services are needed.
Data and Capital Solutions
Reinvestment Fund is helping cities expand access to quality early childhood education. We work with providers, advocates, funders, and businesspeople to tackle this issue, starting with a spatial analysis of the supply of and demand for early childhood education that takes into account the quality of care and maps areas of need.
In partnership with local funders, Reinvestment Fund can also help design and implement a targeted investment strategy to increase the number of high-quality seats in the neighborhoods where the analysis shows they are needed most. We have more than 20 years of childcare financing experience and were active in the Early to Learn initiative, enhancing the business and quality of child care.
The Philadelphia Model
In Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation supported Reinvestment Fund’s analysis of the supply of and demand for early childhood education. Our analysis is accessible through www.childcaremap.org, an interactive tool powered by our PolicyMap platform, which shows the neighborhoods where high-quality care is most scarce and where investments are most needed.
The William Penn Foundation then seeded the Fund for Quality, a targeted investment fund that is expanding the availability of quality early childhood education and care opportunities for low-income families in Philadelphia. It is a partnership between Reinvestment Fund and Public Health Management Corporation. Through business planning support and facilities-related financing, the fund enables high-quality providers to expand their services to reach more low-income families.
The inaugural round of funding drew more than 30 applications from high-quality childcare and community providers. In its first two years, the fund awarded grants to 17 high-quality early childhood education centers. By the end of 2015, they are expected to collectively serve 630 more children every year, the majority of whom are from low-income families.