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Report: Make Sure NM 'Kids Count,' Even Before They Know How

January 17, 2008

Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico's kids need to know they count from the very start. That's the message in the new "Kids Count Data Book" being released today at the state legislature by New Mexico Voices for Children. Report author Lisa Adams-Shafer says early education and access to affordable quality childcare are keys for reducing the state's high poverty rate.

"That sets the stage, the foundation for a child's future, development, learning and behavior, and they're more likely to succeed in school and become productive adults."

Adams-Shafer is hopeful the legislature will take steps to make early care and education, as well as higher education, available to as many of New Mexico's children as possible and she believes pre-kindergarten early education can give children a head start that lasts a lifetime.

"By the time they reach kindergarten, they're ready to learn, they're focused and they're more likely to stay in school, so it really matters from the start."

She says studies indicate that investment in the earliest years of life, from birth to age three, have the biggest long-term payoff.

More information is available online at

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NM