The children, ages 10-21 from Ossining, White Plains, New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon and Elmsford, posed questions regarding the legislators’ own experiences as children, what they’ve done in their careers to support the availability of early care and education, the lack of STEM programs in Yonkers and other areas of lower Westchester, the cost of bussing in White Plains, and access to college for children of undocumented immigrants.
All of the legislators readily acknowledged the importance of universal access to quality early care and education for children, starting at birth.
“It’s an investment that pays off, allowing children to grow up to live productive lives that benefit society,” said Catherine Borgia.
“The idea of waiting until a child is 5 or 6 to start the education process is archaic and inefficient,” added Alfreda Williams.
“We need current and future elected officials to take a longer-term perspective, because failures in early education manifest later in school and college,” said Michael Smith.
Legislators Boykin and Smith encouraged the young people to get involved in the legislative process now, by joining student associations at school, participating in the Youth In Government program, and visiting the state capitol. Then, when they are old enough, to vote and even run for office.
To open the event, the Westchester Children’s Association discussed its 2015 Children By the Numbers Data Bulletin, which highlights demographics, economics, education, youth and young adults, health and child welfare.
About the Child Care Council of Westchester
The Child Care Council of Westchester is a private, nonprofit resource organization that champions the healthy development of children, families and communities by promoting quality early care and education. A unique, “one stop” agency for child care, the Council offers parent referrals, training, information, technical assistance, reports on the industry, and public education for parents, child care programs, governmental organizations and the business community. Since its inception in 1968, the Council has grown to become the premier authority on child care services throughout Westchester County. The Council recently attained Quality Assurance, establishing it as one of the nation’s leading Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs). The national recognition was awarded by Child Care Aware® of America.
Hillary Millman, In Better Words