Home Ralph Northam: Childhood success

Ralph Northam: Childhood success


ralph northamToday Governor McAuliffe signed two Executive Orders elevating and prioritizing the diverse needs of Virginia’s children by establishing a Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success. The former, the Children’s Cabinet, will be co-chaired by Secretary Holton and Secretary Hazel and will work to better align those public programs that serve youth through the age of 21. I will serve on that Cabinet and look forward to working with the Secretaries on those initiatives.

The latter, The Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, is focused specifically on the health and education of young children, from infancy through age 8, and I am honored that Governor McAuliffe named me Chair of this new body. We know that a child’s experiences during the early years of their life are absolutely critical to their development and ability to succeed academically. Public investments in early childhood programs are among the most effective, and we must ensure Virginia is doing all it can to prepare our children to be thriving, contributing members of our Commonwealth for decades to come.

Though Virginia has long been recognized as one of the best states to raise a family, we still face a number of challenges with regard to the health and education of our children. For example, not all localities are using the state funding they receive to provide preschool, and some of our students are falling behind their peers in their first years of elementary school. Some children with intellectual and developmental delays don’t have access to appropriate services, while others lack access to nutritional foods or stable housing.

It is our hope that this Council will serve as a coordinating entity to identify strategic opportunities to improve access, quality, and accountability of early childhood services for Virginia’s children, particularly those at highest risk. I am grateful that these issues are a priority for Governor McAuliffe and his administration, and look forward to putting together a team of state and local government representatives, the business community, public and private providers, and issue experts to serve on this Council and tackle these challenges together.



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