January 11, 2017 5:27 pm
The 6th episode of Stranded by the State, entitled "Early Childhood Development" premieres today. A collaboration between In These Times and Kartemquin Films, the series is directed, edited and produced by Kartemquin associate Liz Kaar and explores the human impact of Illinois' budget crisis.
In this episode we meet Rachel Deitsch, a 23 year old mother and Healthy Start program participant. The organization Children's Home + Aid runs a home visitation program for at-risk mothers 22 years of age and under, to teach prenatal care and early childhood development. However, due to the Illinois budget impasse the site's program went from possessing 5.5 home visitor staff members to 1.5 home visitor staff members.
For rural communities specifically, a home visit is from a staff member of Children's Home + Aid is often one of the only times the child or mother will have social interaction with someone outside their family. Children's Home + Aid reported also reported that 97% of participants had no DCFS cases opened for child abuse or neglect during the program or within 2 years after.
In 2014 in Illinois, 41% of children under 3 years lived in low-income families. 21% of children under 3 years lived below the federal poverty level. By the age of 3 years, children in low-income families hear about 30 million fewer total words than children in higher-income families. Children's Home + Aid staff members are equipped with strategies and tools for building vocabularies and speech skills in the children they visit.
Watch Episode 6 here: