Community violence interferes with young children’s attainment of key competencies — cognitive, sensory, muscular, emotional, social and behavioral — and compromises the capabilities of caregivers to provide supportive environments for their children. However, communities provide the conditions in which people can live free from fear of violence and harm from violence; they support opportunities for active learning and optimal growth in the early years. This fact sheet highlights the research on the relationship between community safety and positive early childhood development. Further, it illustrates the powerful, detrimental influence of community violence on early child development. Taken together, these findings and supporting facts underscore the importance of taking action to promote community safety in support of optimal early child development.
Denver, CO – Early Childhood Council
Emily Bustos discusses how key elements of the community environment impact the development of the 50,000 children under the age of five who are living in Denver, one-third of whom are living in poverty. Denver’s Early Childhood Council is connecting with community-based organizations to develop and advance a joint agenda to foster positive development for children and their families.
New Orleans, LA – City of New Orleans Health Department
Chris Gunther, formerly of the City of New Orleans Health Department, describes persistent challenges faced by young children in New Orleans, particularly structural inequities such as poverty and widespread trauma in the years following Hurricane Katrina. New partnerships with schools and the New Orleans Health Department’s own maternal and child health programs have helped to shape the systems and norms that affect both community safety and early childhood development in the city.