Healthy, Safe, School Ready Children is what Linn County Early Childhood Iowa is all about. Since 1998 Linn County has worked to enhance the early childhood development experience of families with children age pre-natal to five years and to meet the following State of Iowa Desired Results:
- Healthy Children
- Children Ready to Succeed in School
- Safe and Supportive Communities
- Secure and Nurturing Families
- Secure and Nurturing Child Care Environments
This is accomplished by a citizen-led partnership with education, health and human service program providers and with funding from local, state and federal sources. The Linn County Early Childhood Iowa Board has a vision to better organize community systems, work collaboratively across systems, involve local citizens and improve the outcomes for children and families.
The Linn County Early Childhood Iowa approach was established by mandate of the Iowa Legislature in 1998 and reflects their commitment to serving Iowa families in partnership with local communities. Linn County was one of the first three areas in the state to be designated as an ECI area. This designation provides the local Early Childhood Iowa Board with access to state and federal dollars to fund local early childhood development efforts. The Board allocates funds according to priorities identified in the local Early Childhood Community Plan.
The Linn County Early Childhood Iowa Board provides oversight to the allocation of State School Ready dollars and Federal Early Childhood funds. The intended use of School Ready funds is to provide comprehensive health and human services for children. Early Childhood funds are used to enhance quality child care capacity in support of parents ability to obtain or retain employment.
The importance of Early Childhood Iowa and its focus on early childhood development children for children pre-natal to five is illustrated by the following statistics:
- 90% of Total Brain Growth Occurs Before Children Enter Kindergarten. (D. Purves, Body & Brain, Harvard University Press, 1998)
- For Every Dollar Invested In High Quality, Comprehensive Early Care And Education, Society Saves $7.16 in Welfare, Special Education And Criminal Justice Costs. (Significant Benefits: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 27, High/Scope Press, Ypsilanti MI 1993.)