The Challenge


                                      Community Challenges

Our community faces the challenge of a early care and education "slot gap," which is a shortage of early care slots compared to the number of eligible children based on living at or under 185% Federal Poverty Level. Our community has a shortage of 2,552 spaces for children ages birth to two-years-old and 1,392 slots for 3 to 5-year-olds. EPEL led a community planning committee to build a plan to offer equitable access to high-quality early care and education programs. EPEL uses data and family voice to measure progress and identify community needs for families.

What Can We Do?

The Early Childhood System is fragmented, complicated, and difficult for families to navigate. Building an equitable, accessible system that is coordinated and aligned will support families in receiving the services needed for children to find success in school. We call this process "System Building" through a Collective Impact Model. Over 80 partner organizations work together with the mantra of "Together We Can" to ensure families have access to information and resources to develop a strong foundation for children.


Return on Investment

University of Chicago professor, James Heckman, the Heckman Equation helps us understand the need to invest in quality early learning for children in their first years of life. For every $1.00 invested our community will see a $13.00 return.

Why Invest in Early Childhood?

Invest + Develop + Sustain = Gain

"Investing" in resources for families furthest from opportunity nurtures the "development" of cognitive and social skills, "sustained" through education into adulthood leads to a "gain" for the overall economy of a productive and valuable workforce.

Children with high-quality early learning care experiences are:

  • 25% more likely to graduate from high school
  • 4x more likely to have completed a bachelors degree or higher
  • Earn up to 25% more wages as an adult
  • Had fewer teen pregnancies
  • Committed fewer crimes

How Can You Help?