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WGVU By Leaps & Bounds
00000179-f232-de1b-a9f9-f2fa97a20003Investments in high-quality early childhood care, education, and support programs do more than help children – they also strengthen our workforce and economy. How are communities in West and Southwest Michigan approaching prevention and early intervention in these systems of care? How do the programs benefit children, families, care and education providers, businesses, and taxpayers? Where are the gaps, and how do we fill them? Come along as we take a closer look.

By Leaps & Bounds: The Vital Work of Early Childhood During the COVID-19 Crisis

First Steps Kent
First Steps Kent

The COVID-19 crisis brought much of Michigan to a halt at the same time organizations across Kent County were ramping up their services for families with young children. The pandemic has undoubtedly created challenges, but the vital work hasn’t stopped. An urgent priority is ensuring high-quality child care for the children of essential workers.

Another focus for First Steps Kent right now is assisting organizations that receive Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage funding so that their services are available both during the COVID-19 crisis, and into the future. First Steps Kent, as an established systems organization, was built for this type of situation. After years of working with cross-sector partners to align, convene, and help to eliminate silos in the work of early childhood, First Steps Kent has the ability to move in and help in this type of public health crisis.

With established, trusted relationships with dozens of partners focused on providing resources and services to families with very young children, First Steps Kent uses an intentional model of working together and sharing information. Annemarie Valdez, President and CEO of First Steps Kent updates us. For more information, visit https://www.firststepskent.org/

Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The Shelley Irwin Show, a news magazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast at 9 a.m., features a wide variety of local and national news makers, plus special features.
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