As a non-partisan organization, Commit to Keiki met with all candidates to educate them on the needs of Hawai‘i’s youngest children and families. Multiple discussions were hosted to talk about why elected leaders need to prioritize polices and investments that will not only benefit healthy early childhood development, but will ensure a healthy state. Itʻs simple. When more keiki are born healthy and developing on-track, and when young families are supported in the ways that are needed, more keiki will be ready for kindergarten. When more kindergarteners are ready, they become thriving third graders, centered middle schoolers and graduating high schoolers that can then contribute to a thriving Hawai‘i. If we donʻt focus on prevention, not only do we spend millions in unnecessary interventions that could have been prevented, but infants and toddlers grow into adults who struggle with mental health needs, substance use, violence and even incarceration. By investing early, we can help Hawai‘i thrive.
Several polls commissioned by Commit to Keiki found that voters agreed. There was significant support for each of the three priority areas, with 79.5% of voters thinking it is important for Hawai‘i’s next governor to prioritize programs that promote family economic stability with access to early care and learning programs, 82.2% of voters in support of family violence prevention programs, and 81.9% of voters in support of programs that address mental health needs for families and young children, in the next budget.
With the election over, Commit to Keiki’s work has just begun.