Report finds that many Michigan children are falling behind in cognitive development

Nov 4, 2013

A new report out this morning warns that many young Michigan children may not be developing the cognitive skills they’ll need as adults.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation says only about one in three children 8 years old and younger have developed the necessary learning and problem solving skills they’ll need as adults.

Poverty is one obstacle.

About half of Michigan’s one million children 8 years and younger live in households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

“Sadly, too many children, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods, lack access to opportunities to ensure their healthy development,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, director of the Kids Count in Michigan project at the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The Michigan League for Public Policy says the report shows the need for more support for programs to help low income parents and early education.

The governor’s office issued a statement noting an expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program for disadvantaged 4-year-olds.

“It’s one of the best investments we can make. Research shows early childhood programs are a key to future success in school and life,” the statement read in part, “We want to see every child reading by third grade.”