A strong early learning system is essential for the well-being of young children and their families. Working parents need reliable, affordable childcare and high quality programs support children’s healthy development. In fact, each dollar invested in early childhood programs yields a return of $3 to $8 in benefits to society.
The purpose of this project was to provide baseline data for state agencies and early childhood advocates as Hawai‘i plans the future of our early childhood system. The work included:
- a demographic profile of Hawai‘i’s children birth through age five;
- maps of the density of available childcare seats across the state;
- analysis of availability, cost, and quality of center-based childcare, family childcare, and parent-child interaction learning programs; and
- a statewide survey of early learning providers that focused on staffing, quality-related practices, business concerns, and visions for the future.
Highlights of the findings included the high cost of childcare, identification of communities that were childcare deserts, and a critical shortage of infant-toddler care. Bright spots included a range of innovative programs and a high proportion of seats in centers with national accreditation. This project was funded by the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation. Collaborators included the Executive Office on Early Learning and the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network.