A Letter From Eric Schindler, President and CEO
Do you share my vision of an Arizona where children start kindergarten ready to learn and thrive? That is one of the principal keys to future success. Instead, we have to face the reality, as confirmed by the 2015 annual edition of Kids Count, a national report from a child welfare advocacy organization – Arizona ranks 46th among the states on measures of child well-being. Just two of the many heartbreaking, frightening, and infuriating realities:
One of every four children lives in poverty, worse than before the great recession of 2008-9!
Fewer than one in every three young children get to go to preschool
These numbers are statewide averages and are worse for children in minority populations.
CFR’s goal is to be part of the solution. Let me share a couple of examples of how our organization is working, alone as well along with others, to ultimately reduce childhood poverty and increase economic success.
Why do so few children, particularly disadvantaged ones who could most benefit, take part in early childhood education? While a bit of an oversimplification, the answer is they can’t afford it. We have to make it a societal priority to provide opportunities for those who can’t afford it, to benefit from well-run early childhood education programs. It pays for itself and then some by averting downstream costs. CFR has recognized how crucial it is for us to be more than prevention and early intervention organization. We have to be advocates and involved in policymaking. The agency is and will continue to be, more involved in voter registration, voter engagement, Get out the Vote programs, and political coalitions, among other activities aimed at creating the Arizona we deserve.