Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.



Highlights of the State
 The California Children and Families Commission (CCFC) and the 58 county Children and Families Commissions direct a fund of tobacco tax revenues to services for children birth to age five.

 CCFC has made school readiness its framework for funding and evaluation. CCFC identified five focus areas within school readiness: early mental health, informal child care, migrant/seasonal population, children with special needs and oral health.

 CCFC's School Readiness Initiative includes a $200 million fund that, with an equal match from counties, targets families and children in low-performing school communities.

 The Legislature's Education Master Plan, for the first time, includes a School Readiness component with recommendations to expand and integrate early care and education into the K-12 education system.

 The California Department of Education, Child Development Division has revised its approach to evaluating the child care and development services it provides to move away from a process-oriented compliance model and towards a focus on the results desired from the system. "Desired Results for Children and Families" centers around the following six goals for children and families:
    - Children are personally and socially competent;
    - Children are effective learners;
    - Children show physical and motor competence;
    - Children are safe and healthy;
    - Families support their child's learning and development;
    - Families achieve their goals.

Policy Issues
 Making progress on children's school readiness in the context of severely declining state revenues

 Addressing how to serve more children who are eligible for subsidized child care and how to improve quality in child care settings overall

 Assuring access to health care for all children

 Family leave legislation

 Addressing culturally diverse children/families

 Addressing special needs children/families

 Kindergarten assessments

Statutory Children's Cabinet
California Children and Families Commission
The California Children and Families Commission was created by The California Children and Families Act of 1998. The Commission was designed to provide, on a community-by-community basis, all children prenatal to five years of age with a comprehensive, integrated system of early childhood development services. Through the integration of health care, quality child care, parent education and effective intervention programs for families at risk, children and their parents and caregivers are provided with the tools necessary to foster secure, healthy and loving attachments. Commissioners are appointed from the public and private sector, including state legislators, representatives from the Department of Education, doctors, and actors. The Commissioners meet monthly.


© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
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The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT