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Presidential Candidates on the Issue of Child Development

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Hands to Hearts International (HHI) is a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon that uses simple and cost-effective tools and resources to train caregivers and parents to improve the early development of children surviving in orphanages, refugee camps, and severely impoverished or conflict-ridden communities anywhere in the world. Through HHI's support and training, caregivers and parents improve their ability to nurture a child's language, social, cognitive and physical skills. And most importantly, HHI's specialized training program enhances the attachment and bonding of infants to caregivers, which establishes the base for all future relationships.

HHI is not a political organization, but we do care about our next president and his stance on healthy child development, a cornerstone for the successful education, economics, and development for a thriving society and country.  HHI did a little research on this issue and this is what was found:

Barack Obama

Obama has a very detailed statement on child development (which can be found here) and these are some of the highlights that support the idea of early child development, specifically babies from the ages of 0-5:

-He started the Illinois Early Learning Council

-Obama has a "comprehensive 'Zero to Five' plan to provide critical support to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create" focusing more on Head Start and quadruple the number of eligible children." 


-Obama will "work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families.

-He will "expand the highly-successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers"  This program sends trained nurses to the homes of first-time parents to teach "proven methods to help improve the mental and physical health of the family by providing counseling on substance abuse, creating and achieving personal goals, and effective methods of nurturing children...The Proven benefits of these types of programs include improved women's prenatal health, a reduction in childhood injuries, fewer unintended subsequent pregnancies, increased father involvement and women's employment, reduced use of welfare and food stamps, and increased children's school readiness"  this focus on nurturing has produced more than "$28,000 in net savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program"

-He also proposes to improve training for foster parents and understands why it's necessary to focus on preventing child abuse and neglect.

Clearly Obama sees the importance of investing in children, even before they reach Kindergarten.  He knows that, as far as development of fundamental skills, kindergarten can be too late for a healthy start.


Hillary Clinton-

Even though she has stepped out of the race, I'd like to take a moment to point out her own stance on child development from her Huffington Post blog entry earlier this year.  It's obivious that she too understands the importance of child development:

Marian Wright Edelman, my friend and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, says it best: "If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much." [...]

In my 35 years as an advocate for children and families, I have never met a child without potential. But I've met plenty of children growing up in extraordinary hardship and lacking the basic tools they need to succeed. Even in the United States, the wealthiest nation in the world, 13 million children still live in poverty and 5 million live in extreme poverty. Too many children are expected to overcome these hurdles, become productive citizens, and compete in a modern global economy without the benefit of sound schooling, decent housing, proper nutrition, and adequate health care.

Indeed, our treatment of children is a measure of our decency, compassion, and humanity as a people. It's time for the best of America -- our talent, innovative spirit, and potential for progress -- to be reflected in our children. The children of America are a national treasure -- and a national responsibility. Securing their future will be at the heart of my presidency.

John McCain

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www.handstohearts.org

Laura Peterson is the Executive Director of Hands to Hearts International. Hands to Hearts International (HHI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving of the health and well-being of orphaned and vulnerable children through improved (more...)
 
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Presidential Candidates on the Issue of Child Development

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