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Minneapolis Fed Releases Report on Early Childhood Development in Montana

New report examines the economic benefits of early childhood development for Montana’s children.

Helena, January 22, 2018

Minneapolis Fed Releases Report on Early Childhood Development in Montana
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Bank’s Helena Branch released a new report examining the economic benefits of early childhood development for Montana’s children.

“Research shows that early intervention and prevention programs can produce savings to state and local governments, including reduced costs related to remedial education, social services and crime,” said Rob Grunewald, a Minneapolis Fed economist and the lead author of the report. Bank Intern Tegan Lane assisted in researching and writing the report.

The report, Early Childhood Development in Montana, provides detailed statistics and information about early childhood health and development, child care quality, access to preschool and other important indicators of success for Montana’s youngest children and is designed to inform early childhood policy and program development. Data and resources for children in Native American communities are also highlighted. Building on the Minneapolis Fed’s significant scholarship on the issue, the report also outlines opportunities for new investments to support Montana’s children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

“Improving early childhood development in Montana is an economic issue that the entire community—including business leaders, funders and policymakers—has a stake in,” said Diana Holshue, director of the Helena Branch operations and outreach. “Our future prosperity depends on helping Montana’s children reach their full potential.”

Key highlights of the report include:

  • The share of Montana’s infants enrolled in Medicaid with evidence of perinatal drug exposure more than doubled from 2010 to 2016, putting more of Montana’s young children at risk for health problems and developmental delays.
  • While Montana has made gains in reaching low-income families and young children with opportunities to attend high-quality early learning programs, less than 50 percent of 4-year-old low-income children and less than 10 percent of low-income children under age 3 have access to such programs.
  • In addition to supporting childhood development when children are cared for outside the home, the ability to access high-quality child care can help parents enter the workforce and be productive at their jobs. More than 60 percent of Montana children under age 6 have all of their parents in the workforce.

The Funders for Montana’s Children, a group of philanthropic foundations that are working together to increase awareness of and will to advance early childhood investments in the state, drafted the foreword to the report, which will be shared with business and civic leaders to help raise awareness of the challenges Montana children face and possible ways to address them.

The Minneapolis Fed’s scholarship on early childhood development, spearheaded by Grunewald and former Research director, Art Rolnick, has consistently demonstrated that improving early childhood development is a key economic issue and has been the foundation for new policy in Minnesota.

The full report can be found here.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System, the nation’s central bank. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is responsible for the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis participates in setting national monetary policy, supervises numerous banking organizations, and provides a variety of payments services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.