Drawing on an extensive body of economic and program evaluation research, a RAND study analyzes the costs and benefits of investing in evidence-based early childhood programs in New Hampshire. The research documents statewide challenges and adversity faced by NH children under the age of six, particularly for at-risk children and their families. The study highlights evidence-based strategies that promote child development from birth to kindergarten entry and demonstrate a proven return on investment. The research was funded by the Endowment for Health, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, the New Hampshire Department of Education, and the HNH Foundation.
The future prosperity of NH depends on our ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation. Science tells us that investing in the earliest years of a child’s life sets the foundation for all future learning and growth. Today in New Hampshire, 70% of young children have parents who work. Despite this, a stunning 45% of children under 6 years of age live in families whose wages do not provide financial security. Additionally, 37% of NH children under the age of six experience one or two factors related to early adversity, putting them at risk for poor outcomes and lifelong challenges. Investing in proven programs prepares kids for the future. The RAND report identifies programs that produce significant returns on investment for New Hampshire – from home visiting programs that start during the prenatal period to high-quality preschool one or two years before kindergarten entry.
Lynn Karoly, from the RAND Corporation is the researcher and author of the study. Anamarie Auger, Jill Cannon, and Becky Kilburn from the RAND Corporation contributed to the study. Kim Firth from the Endowment for Health provided overall guidance for the study. In addition, a project advisory group offered input on the study objectives and approach at key junctures. Members included Yvonne Goldsberry, Endowment for Health; Patti Baum and Gail Garceau, HNH Foundation; Christina Lachance and Deborah Schachter, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Karen Hicks, Civix Strategies Group; Fred Kocher, Kocher & Company, Inc.; Anthony Poore, Darcy Saas, and Robert Triest, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; Marti Ilg, Lakes Region Child Care; Chris Cassery, Rochester Child Care Center; Jackie Cowell, Early Learning New Hampshire; Karen Welford, Family Support NH; Michelle Merritt and Rebecca Woitkowski, New Futures; Judy Reidt-Parker, Ounce of Prevention; Keryn Bernard Kriegl, New Hampshire Children’s Trust; Laura Milliken, Spark NH; Mary Steady and Santina Thibedeau, New Hampshire Department of Education; and Rhonda Siegel and Patricia Tilley, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Data and information support was provided by Ruth Littlefield and Jane Waterhouse at the New Hampshire Department of Education; Kristin Booth and Erica Proto at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services; and Mary Evers of Child and Family Services of New Hampshire. Stephen Norton from the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies provided constructive reviews for the report.