COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Fresh new figures to support the efforts of the Great Start Collaborative of Branch County. The numbers come from the Anne E. Casey Foundation, the organization that publishes the annual Kids Count survey. The foundation is calling on officials to invest more in the first 8-years of the lives of our children, especially poor children, because those formative years are critical to determining their success for the rest of their lives.
Jane Zehnder- Merrill with the Michigan League for Public Policy says the opposite is taking place. Poor and working families have never had it harder with cuts in food assistance, cuts in the Earned Income Tax credit and other tax breaks that have been eliminated. She says the Governor has put some money into pre-school but needs to help families long before then. She says only about 36% of the state’s children are on-track for cognitive development by the third grade. It’s much higher in other states.