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Community Loan Fund staff

Early child development a key piece of the poverty puzzle

By Community Loan Fund staff

To prosper, New Hampshire must address the complex challenges of childhood poverty with solutions that focus on healthy child development.

We in New Hampshire are fortunate to have community leaders and advocates who totally "get" that investments in children's earliest years are good for our state and necessary for healthy and vibrant communities. This goal has become more urgent in recent years as child poverty here has risen significantly.

Dick Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, framed the issue really well in The Youngest Among Us, a letter he sent last week to partners and supporters. He wrote that in order for our state to grow and prosper, we need to take the long view. That includes meeting the complex challenges of childhood poverty head-on, with practical solutions that focus on healthy child development as well as other essential basic needs—housing, food and health care.

Seeking and creating solutions are what the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund's work is all about, and we wouldn't be nearly as effective without partners like Dick and his Charitable Foundation team, who articulate our shared vision and commitment to quality early childhood experiences for the youngest among us.

The Business of Child Care initiative in Coos County is a recent example of an effective partnership with the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the Charitable Foundation. Launched last year, this innovative pilot project is assessing and strengthen the business management practices of Coos County child care providers so they are better equipped to provide quality care for area families.