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This paper discusses the importance of collaboration across social service and educational sectors as a way of achieving a coherent and integrated system that assures that young children receive the high quality of care and education they need and that also maximizes the use of federal, state, and local resources. Section 1 of the paper discusses the nation's commitment to six education goals and the challenges of finding more effective means whereby programs for the poor and the working poor, especially child care and early childhood programs, can reach the children who need them. Section 2 explores the extent to which all children are ready to learn and the extent to which society is ready to support young children. The characteristics of an early care and education system that works for children and families are explored in section 3. Section 4 describes the major sources of new or expanded support for young children and their families. Section 5 identifies the need to create a shared vision for young children and their families, and to establish a sustainable cross-sector mechanism to carry out long-term planning and implementation to bring the vision to reality. This section also discusses the need to build linkages among the various program components, develop joint or coordinated responses to problems in the current set of programs and services, and strengthen the overall capacity to connect disadvantaged families to high-quality developmental services. A 22-item bibliography on early childhood programs and new funding is included. (SM)

Descriptors: Agency Cooperation, Child Welfare, Cooperative Planning, Cooperative Programs, Day Care, Early Childhood Education, Educational Improvement, Family Programs, High Risk Students, Program Improvement, School Readiness, Working Poor, Young Children

Council of Chief State School Officers, One Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001-1431 (free).

Autor: Levy, Janet E.; And Others


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