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Blog | | Early Edge California, The Children's Partnership

The Effect of Hostile Immigration Policies on California Children’s Early Childhood Development

New Report from Early Edge California and The Children’s Partnership

What do you do when a worried parent asks you to take care of their four- year-old if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports them? 

For early care educators, childcare workers, home visitors, and preschool teachers, these types of questions have become more common. Our new report, The Effect of Hostile Immigration Policies on California Children’s Early Childhood Development, written in partnership with The Children’s Partnership, examines the effects of this hostile climate on our youngest Californians and the early childhood workers who support them.

Nearly half of California’s three million children under five years old are children of immigrants.

With the spread of anti-immigrant policies, many immigrant families are fearful of utilizing health, nutrition, early education, and essential services that impact their children’s wellbeing. Over 1.3 million California children are at risk of losing out on their basic needs, which, compounded by the stress, anxiety and instability their families are experiencing, has a direct impact on their healthy, normal development.

As caregivers, early childhood education (ECE) providers understand the importance of basic needs like food, housing and health care to a child’s early learning and development. Yet ECE staff face new challenges of how to support families facing fear, economic stressors, and disruptions to their lives. With one in five early childhood providers identifying as immigrants themselves, the emotional burden can be exceptionally high.

By building the capacity of our early childhood workforce to respond to trauma, creating safe spaces for all families, and fostering connections between child-serving systems, we can better support early childhood staff and the children they serve. With unprecedented commitments to early childhood development made by California state leaders like Governor Gavin Newsom, now is the time to make sure our youngest Californians are set up to thrive.

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