Best Starts for Juneau Kids

an initiative of  ROCK Juneau

Lets Start Today!
The first years are most critical for future success. Yet, too many young children in Juneau don't have access to high-quality early learning opportunities. We must make sure every child who needs it has access to high-quality, affordable child care.

The Best Starts initiative will increase:

Child Care and Pre-K Capacity:
Some part time preschools and Head Starts will be able to expand their hours to make it work for working parents. New child care programs have indicated an interest in opening in Juneau if Best Starts is implemented. Doubling the number of licensed child care spaces means 100 new early educator jobs and 400+ more parents able to work. A supplement to the existing State of Alaska child care grant will help close the gap between the cost of operating a child care and what the market price will bear.  This keeps administration costs low, with minimal new “paperwork” for programs.  
Child Care Quality:
Participating programs will have support to meet quality standards outlined in the new Alaska Learn and Grow Quality Recognition Improvement System administered by thread Alaska. Through Best Starts, programs will receive education awards for teachers, classroom assessments, coaching, equipment and facility grants, and teacher in-service education. Traveling preschool teachers will visit enrolled programs to deliver curriculum and teaching kits aligned with the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines.
Affordability and Support for Parents:
Child care and Pre-K programs will receive accountable funding to provide tuition scholarships, with additional funds for families on child care assistance, and for infants and toddlers.
Parents will have the option to participate in ongoing parenting classes, or home visiting from a parent educator to support their role as their child’s first and most important teacher.
Best Starts for Juneau’s Kids, initiated by business and civic leaders, will provide the resources needed to put every Juneau child in on a path toward lifelong success. Overwhelming scientific evidence tells us prevention/early intervention is the most effective and least expensive way to address critical youth issues. Also, building family friendly communities is a huge economic driver. Juneau cannot afford to lose more of its young families due to its lack of sufficient quality and affordable child care and preschool. State and federal funding for youth has declined and is expected to decline more in the future. If Juneau is going to adequately invest in its youth, we have to do it now.

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