Alabama’s children at the heart of the matter

February 19, 2015 should be a day to remember for Alabama’s precious children for this is the day when leaders and concerned people came together to learn and discuss how we as a state can do better by our greatest natural resource – our children.

You would expect state and local leaders to talk about the benefits of focusing strategies and resources on our young children, but what was truly impressive, and encouraging, was to hear national speakers like Dr. Libby Doggett from the US Department of Education and Mrs. Linda Smith from the Administration on Children and Families to actually say Alabama is doing it right! The applauded us for strong leadership, comprehensive vision and an emphasis on QUALITY.

This is what the audience of over 300 people heard at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club on a cold but sunny Thursday in Montgomery, Alabama.

We also heard from a national expert in brain research, Dr. Patricia Kuhl, what many of us working in  the field of child care and families have known all along: Babies brains are building in the earliest ages and they build the most at this time and respond best to personal interactions with caring people. WOW!

Liz Huntley, local Birmingham attorney, child advocate and NEW mom summed it up best. She stood at the podium looking all successful and proud of her accomplishments which you would not have expected from her tumultuous childhood all but for a positive and enriching early child care experience!

Governor Bentley himself closed out the day by recommitting himself to continue supporting investments in early childhood starting with state budget allocations to First Class Pre-K.

What stood out best for me though is what Alabama Department of Human Resources Commissioner Nancy Buckner said in her remarks: “You can pay now for quality early childhood programs and services or you can pay later for a failed state prison system. Either way you’re going to pay.” Wouldn’t you rather invest in something that will yield a positive outcome rather than a negative one? We think so.

February 19, 2015 was a day that focused on Alabama’s children. Let’s now take that day and provide our children with a lifetime of positive supports to help every child reach his or her potential!