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Early childhood investment benefits Iowa kids

July 30, 2009
State Sen. Tom Rielly (D-Oskaloosa)

How can we help all Iowa kids grow into healthy, successful adults? Part of the answer is improving early care, health and education-areas where Iowa has made significant progress in recent years.

Investing in kids right from the start pays off. According to research, 85 percent of brain growth occurs in the first six years of life, and early brain development has a big impact on a person's future abilities.

The Iowa Business Council and other professional organizations across our state put early childhood development issues at the top of their agenda because they are so important to the present and future workforce.

According to the Iowa Business Council, "a strong early childhood education system in Iowa will have a positive impact on workforce quality, reliability, and availability."

The organization praised the Legislature's commitment to early childhood, saying that thanks to "significant appropriations made by the Iowa General Assembly in recent years, a measurable improvement in early childhood education is under way."

Here's some of what we've done to enhance early childhood experiences in Iowa:

Expanded the statewide Voluntary Preschool Program

Expanded statewide access to high-quality early childhood education

Strengthened the overall early childhood Empowerment system

Created child-care tax credits for state taxpayers, and increased reimbursement rates to child-care centers

Expanded standards for child care facilities

Increased funding and access to hawk-I, the state health insurance program for children from working families

I'll continue helping Iowa children learn, grow and prepare for success by supporting initiatives that help Iowa families and communities provide healthy, safe, nurturing environments.

New resource for Iowa entrepreneurs

A new website sponsored by the Iowa Department of Economic Development is a one-stop shop for resources available to Iowa entrepreneurs.

The Iowa Entrepreneur Network connects entrepreneurs with potential investors and includes a calendar of events for entrepreneurs in Iowa. The site has links to investment resources, organizations that assist entrepreneurs and self-teaching aids.

See what this new business development tool has to offer at

This is a legislative update from Senator Tom Rielly, representing Iowa, Poweshiek, and Keokuk counties, and portions of Mahaska and Tama counties.

To contact Senator Rielly when the Legislature is not in session, call him at home at 641-673-0359. E-mail him at



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