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Massachusetts Senators Announce Ambitious “Kids First” Plan to Support Children

BOSTON –Massachusetts Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), joined by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst), announced today the launch of a Senate-led, multi-year initiative to identify and support innovative strategies to invest in Massachusetts’ children.

“Kids First” will take a comprehensive and inter-disciplinary look at a wide variety of policy areas which relate to supporting children, such as education, nutrition, public health, housing, and workforce development.  The first phase of the initiative will focus on early childhood development from pre-natal through the fourth grade.

The group of nine senators will be led by Senator DiDomenico, and will seek out input on best-in-the nation practices to support children, and will make budget and policy recommendations to support their findings.

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in education, public health, and innovation. However, when it comes to ensuring that all our children have a chance to succeed, there is still work that remains to be done in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico.  “Kids First will not only explore and identify the best practices and investments we can make for our children today, it will also pinpoint the long term actions we can take that will put children for generations to come on the path to productive adulthood. The Senate strongly believes we must put all kids in Massachusetts first, and I look forward to getting to work on this crucial initiative.”

“From the kids sitting on early education waitlists, to the special needs students and English language learners who need more focus, to the college grads with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, we must do a better job of investing in children and students,” said Senate President Rosenberg. “What we need is a big-picture blueprint for smart investments in our kids, and a long-term plan to guide resources to where they’ll make the biggest difference. Kids First will deliver that blueprint.”

The group announced they have already scheduled their first meeting for February 3rd with Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.  The council is focused on a “multi-university collaboration comprising leading scholars in neuroscience, psychology, pediatrics, and economics, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting young children.”

Early last year, the senate announced a “Work First” initiative, led by Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) to reform the Commonwealth’s welfare-to-work and job training programs to create more opportunities for people to move from public assistance to work. “Work First” resulted in over $3.4M in targeted new funding in the FY16 budget for workforce training and development

 

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