Governor Patrick today toured the Horizons for Homeless Children headquarters at the Edgerley Family Community Children's Center in Roxbury, as an ongoing effort to promote increased investments in early education.
"Every child in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to receive high quality early education," said Governor Patrick. "We know from educators, from academic research, from years of public policy and from our own experience as parents, that investing in our children at a young age pays huge dividends for them and for our community as a whole."
The Governor's FY14 budget calls for increased investments in high-quality education in the Commonwealth. A $131 million investment in the early education and care system will provide funding to work to eliminate the Department of Early Education and Care's (EEC) current birth to age-five waitlist; expand initiatives to ensure the highest educational quality among providers of early education and care; assist early educators and providers with attaining higher levels of proficiency, skill and quality; increase educational programs and supports for parents and family members to further engage them in their child's success; and expand efforts to provide comprehensive support services to children and their families.
Governor Patrick toured Horizons headquarters and visited with students. He also participated in a roundtable discussion with parents and teachers involved with the center.
Increased investments in the Commonwealth's early education system will enable the state to prevent developmental and achievement gaps for its youngest residents, and will also ensure that students are reading and writing proficiently by grade three.
"We are at a turning point for early education in Massachusetts," said President and CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children Asa Fanelli. "Governor Patrick has endorsed a plan that ensures every child has access to high-quality early education from birth to age five. Horizons has been advocating for this for years. Each week we provide 3,000 young homeless children with high-quality early education, opportunities for play, and family support services. We have seen first-hand that intervening early, especially for the most vulnerable children, can lead to school, work and life success."
Horizons for Homeless Children focuses exclusively on the needs of young homeless children and their families. Horizons is recognized as a national leader in the education of homeless children. Today, Horizons provides high-quality early education, opportunities for play and family engagement services to more than 3,000 homeless children each week and 5,300 children annually in Massachusetts through three early education centers and Playspaces in more than 150 shelters.