Student Projects

Understanding the Early Child Care Landscape in New Jersey

Understanding the Early Child Care Landscape in New Jersey

Alexa A. Kurtz, Bailey D. Lawrence, Jessica L. Roman, Patrick J. Walsh

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New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. NJCC supports communities of various sizes and demographic compositions across the state. The CDFI adopts a multi-faceted approach to neighborhood revitalization and economic development, which includes the provision of financing, investment, and financial knowledge. As a result of its efforts, NJCC seeks to “expand opportunities and promote economic growth to strengthen neighborhoods, improve individual and community health and well-being, and ensure that underserved communities thrive.”

Access to early child care is beneficial for children, parents, caregivers, and society as a whole. For children – and particularly low-income children – quality early care can foster cognitive, academic, and socioemotional development. Such care can also mitigate academic achievement gaps between low-income and more affluent students. Access to early care services enables parents, especially mothers, to increase their labor force participation—promoting familial economic stability and/or growth. Early care is associated with improved health outcomes, a decreased need for specialized education services later in life, and reduced criminal activity. These advantages benefit society on an economic level as well by reducing the costs imposed by the healthcare, education, and criminal justice systems.