Opinion: NH Legislature invests in our youngest learners, but there’s still much to do
September 25, 2023
Barbara and Richard Couch of Hanover are founders and trustees of the Couch Family Foundation. The Couch Family Foundation invests in, supports, and advocates for equitable early care and education.
The experiences children have in their earliest years play a crucial role in healthy development and learning, as evidenced by research on children’s rapid brain development during early childhood.
Children under five who are enrolled in quality childcare programs enter school better prepared to thrive. Decades of research shows that learning experiences in early care and education programs are important drivers of school and academic success and of financial security, employment opportunity, and economic mobility throughout life.
However, in New Hampshire, it is estimated that tens of thousands of children under age five need early care and education, but their families can’t afford it, or find it — and that number is likely growing given recent child care program closures and staff shortages.
To make a difference for our youngest Granite Staters, the Couch Family Foundation is focused on increasing access to affordable, high-quality early care and education opportunities to enhance children’s learning and growth. As parents, grandparents, and employers, we understand firsthand the impact that access to quality care can have on a family and the surrounding community.
In commendable bipartisan fashion, the New Hampshire Legislature recently made strong policy changes and significant investments in early care and education to address the challenges parents are facing in balancing their need to work and their need to provide safe, nurturing, and enriching care for their children.