Recent neuroscience research has shown that 80% of the foundation of a child’s brain development occurs in the first 1000 days of life. These first three years impact a child’s health, learning, and executive function for the rest of their life. The Itasca Project recognizes that multiple factors drive healthy brain development, such as adequate health and nutrition, exposure to language, parent bonding, mitigation of stress, and more. Deep inequities exist in accessing these conditions and experiences. As a result, disparities across socioeconomic status first appear at just 18 months, as parents and families with low incomes need to focus on basic needs and babies are exposed to less enriching environments.
Each year, 34,000 children are born in the Minneapolis-St Paul region; approximately 10,000 face significant challenges and risks due to the conditions they face. To engage employers in strategies to better support families and children across our region, the Itasca Project is:
Sharing the latest research and best practices
- A toolkit for employers to pursue family-friendly practices and policies. Employers who support employees and their children are investing in their teams, their workplace culture — and our shared future. Now more than ever it’s clear employees’ roles as parents/caregivers are intertwined with their role as workers.
- University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development – founded in 1925, a world renowned site for research on child and adolescent development and the faculty home of many of the members and directors of the Masonic Institute of the Developing Brain. https://icd.umn.edu/
- University of Minnesota, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain – a new, interdisciplinary center for world-renowned research on early childhood development. https://midb.umn.edu/
- Pandemic pushes mothers of young children out of the labor force | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (minneapolisfed.org)
- COVID-19 Impact on Childcare | U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (uschamberfoundation.org)
- New Report Ranks the Best and Worst States for Children during COVID | Save the Children
- Minnesota (MN) – State of Babies Yearbook 2020
- The State of Working Women: Marking a Milestone Even as the Pandemic Takes New Toll | U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- 3 Ways Companies Can Retain Working Moms Right Now (hbr.org)