On September 6, 2000 the Child Mental Health Foundations and Agencies Network (FAN) released A Good Beginning: Sending America's Children to School with the Social and Emotional Competence They Need to Succeed. The purpose of the report is to raise awareness that "children who do not begin kindergarten socially and emotionally competent are often not successful in the early years of school--and can be plagued by behavioral, emotional, academic, and social development problems that follow them into adulthood."
The report summarizes findings on risk and protective factors that affect children's early social and emotional competence. It provides an overview of current federal programs that serve young children and makes recommendations for improving services though research and public policies. The following summarizes some of the report's key recommendations in each area.
- Expand research about risk and protective factors and the impact of ethnicity and culture on children's social and emotional development
- Conduct more longitudinal studies that include an assessment of child and family before school entry and throughout their school years
- Conduct multi-disciplinary research to determine the optimal organizational and financing required to create a seamless, comprehensive system of early care and education
- Promote more coordination among federal agencies that serve young children and their families
- Use research findings to develop a national early childhood plan
- Expand early intervention services and fund more intensive and longer-lasting programs and services
- Bring successful strategies to scale