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Officials have unveiled a 10-year strategic plan to improve the lives of Springfield-area children through enhanced parental guidance and better access to resources.
The Every Child Promise aims to cut in half the number of local youth who are unprepared to learn upon entering kindergarten. Currently one of every five children is not ready. Child Advocate Dana Carroll says that over the past four months officials have helped put this plan together, which covers five main areas; early childcare, preschool, safe and secure environments, food and nutrition and health care.
“And that all rolls into school readiness, and our goal is in 10 years to make sure that 90 percent of kids that enter Springfield schools are ready to learn,” Carroll said.
The goals are broken down by measurable objectives, to be completed in two phases. The first includes universal access to a home visiting model similar to the Springfield Public School program Parents as Teachers, access to quality public, private or faith-based Pre-K education, scholarship assistance, and increased access to nutritional food.
See the complete Every Child Promise strategic plan.
“So we have four pilot programs. These are going to start right away and they’re going to be implemented over the next three years. We’re going to demonstrate the impact of the big ideas that we have so that the sustainable funding is something that our community will get behind.”
The pilot programs will cost $1.2 million over that three year span, with more than 50 percent in funding already committed, Carroll says. With additional funding come more programs.
Todd Parnell is co-chair of the Every Child Promise Executive Committee.
“10 years from now, if our children don’t have more opportunities than they do today, we will have failed. As a community, we will have failed,” Parnell said.
Dana Carroll urges community members to put children and their families first by donating or joining a committee, adding that when children are healthy, communities are healthy.