76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008
Miami

2008 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS FOR AMERICA’S FAMILIES

WHEREAS, our nation must use its most effective publicly-fundedearly childhood resources to strengthen American families andprovide our youngest citizens with the best prospects for aproductive and rewarding future; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has consistentlysupported Head Start and subsidized child care and prekindergarten programs; and

WHEREAS, a comprehensive approach to these early childhood careand education services under the leadership of chief localelected officials will help keep America's cities working, expand parent choice and promote quality care for all children;and

WHEREAS, the availability, affordability and accessibility ofthese programs are vital for millions of families struggling tocope with the rising cost of everyday essentials, and are thekey factor in their being able to continue working; and

WHEREAS, approximately 63 percent of the nation's children under5 are in nonparental care during part or all of the day whiletheir parents work; and

WHEREAS, according to 2005 data from the Bureau of the Census, nearly 12,000,000 children under the age of 5 are in some typeof child care arrangement; and

WHEREAS, almost 80 percent of an individual's total braindevelopment occurs before the age of five; and

WHEREAS, millions of low-income children could benefit from high-quality child care; in 2007, 43 percent of America'schildren under age 6 lived in families with incomes below 200percent of poverty; and

WHEREAS, only 30.5 percent of Hispanic 3 year olds attendcenter-based preschool education programs and 45.8 percent ofnon-Hispanic children; and

WHEREAS, students who have attended quality preschoolprogramming have less grade retention and increased high school graduation rates when compared to those who have not attended;and

WHEREAS, the Head Start program for over four decades hassuccessfully delivered comprehensive early childhood education, health and social services, and has a proud history ofbipartisan support in Congress; and

WHEREAS, almost one million of America's most at-risk children and their families currently depend on Head Start programs for asolid foundation for their future, for their first educationalexperiences, for immunizations, dental and health care, forlearning social skills and good nutrition habits; and

WHEREAS, young adults who participated in quality earlychildhood education programs were arrested less often, had fewerbirths out of wedlock, and were less likely to use welfare thantheir peers who did not participate; and

WHEREAS, one-third more at-risk children who attended a qualityearly childhood program graduated from high school than thosewho did not attend; and

WHEREAS, these publicly-funded early childhood programs arelocally-run and locally-focused, help educate and care for ourchildren, improve and enrich the lives of their parents andsiblings, and engage and benefit the residents, organizationsand institutions of the neighborhoods and cities in which theyoperate,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges federal, state, and local governmentsto invest in expanding access to quality early childhood careand education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urgesCongress to fully fund the Head Start program and the Child Careand Development Block Grant so that all eligible children canhave access to these highly valuable early childhood developmentand enrichment services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference believes that investing in quality, affordable child care is one of the mostcost-effective economic stimulus measures to lessen the financial burden for our working families, reduce publicassistance costs and move families out of poverty; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that low-income families' co-paymentsfor publicly-funded child care be set at appropriate levels thatdo not present a significant barrier to access. Currently, low-income families spend as much as 18% of their annual income ontheir child care co-payment while the average American familyspends only 9% on child care--a major impediment for thosestruggling to stay afloat in today’s economy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Congress and the Executive Branchrecognize how universally Head Start, child care and preschoolprograms are melded and leveraged at the local level to meet theearly childhood needs of families and communities, and that theyacknowledge and support this beneficial coordination byproviding sufficient administrative and financial flexibility inthese programs.