Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.58.27 PMBased on a review of benefit-cost evidence, this paper identifies four areas of investment that merit expanded federal funding even in a time of fiscal austerity. America’s future economic well-being will benefit from targeted investments to ensure that children have the skills to become tomorrow’s adult workers, caregivers, taxpayers, and citizens. Target areas for a package of proposals totaling about $25 billion annually and $133 billion over a five-year period are the following:

  • High-quality early childhood education programs for three- and four-year-old children ($94 billion over five years);
  • Nurse home-visiting programs to promote sound prenatal care and the healthy development of infants and toddlers ($14 billion over five years);
  • School reform with an emphasis on programs in high-poverty elementary schools that improve the acquisition of basic skills for all students ($17 billion over five years); and
  • Programs that reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy ($8 billion over five years).