On January 30,2019, Governor David Y. Ige signed an agreement with a number of state leaders establishing an Early Childhood State Plan, 2019-2024. Partially supported by a Castle Foundation grant, this monumental state plan emphasizes five building blocks which will address the needs of children, families and the workforce. These include: child and family health, safety and wellbeing; family partnerships and support; foundations for early learning; a well-prepared, well-supported early childhood workforce; and a coordinated early childhood system. During the launch of this innovative and visionary plan, Governor Ige said, “Starting with prenatal care, we are setting the foundation to ensure that all keiki develop to their fullest potential and with them, our communities. I am excited that this new plan will drive collective action to improve the lives of our children, their families and our communities by preparing our keiki for their future and the 21st century workforce”.
The plan outlines a framework for positive early education & child development and is a public-private effort. The Castle Foundation is now working with the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services, the Early Learning Board, the Executive Office of Early Learning, and the Department of Health to implement the comprehensive framework.
The trustees have recently expanded our state-wide support for strengthening families, parents and guardians of young children through our RFP process. By 2020, several million dollars will be granted to outstanding human services organizations to effect change.
Meanwhile, as we have since the 19th century, we continue to provide substantial financial support for kindergarten and pre-school teacher training, small capital improvements, tuition assistance, educational conference support, pre-school equipment purchases, support for legislative advocacy, support of high quality cultural-based education, and fund to create a universal public pre-K – grade 12 educational system.