Closing the Infant and Maternal Mortality deficit through policy advocacy

The following was read into record in front of the Assembly Education Committee Hearing on September 22, 2022, regarding bill A1168, which Establishes a five-year community schools pilot program. 

Thank you for considering A1168 which will create wrap-around community schools throughout New Jersey. This legislation will help close the education gap between our better and lesser performing schools which is the largest in the nation and reduce the maternal and infant mortality gap in minorities which is also the largest in the nation.

A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age three than at any later period in life, building the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. We must start early to advance programs and policies that promote healthy development for our infants and toddlers, particularly in low income school districts so these children can start pre-k education at the same level as other students in the state.

Likewise providing pregnant women with health care services and family nutrition and counseling services will reduce the maternal and infant mortality in minority families.

To achieve those goals I urge amendments to A1168 to begin the community services at prenatal to three and to focus on low income and majority minority school districts.

About The Author: Raymond J Lesniak is the President of the Lesniak Institute and a former New Jersey State Senator.