Survey of Mississippi Issues Impacting Children (MIIC)

Using Data as a Guide to Good Policy

The Children’s Foundation of Mississippi aims to contribute to our shared well-being by improving the policies and systems that affect children and youth. We cannot make meaningful progress without taking an objective look at where things stand now. Knowing this, the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi is committed to providing the data that communities, advocates and decision makers need to be informed.

To better understand Mississippians’ attitudes and opinions on issues affecting children from birth to age eight, the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi commissioned the Mississippi Issues Impacting Children (MIIC) academic research survey of Mississippi residents aged 18 and older. The Children’s Foundation of Mississippi will draw on these findings to inform its priorities and guide its engagement with the concerns that exist in the state.

Early Matters

For Mississippi to reach its potential, we must make sure our state’s children reach theirs. A strong start in childhood establishes a sturdy foundation for lifelong learning and contributions to our communities.
According to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, in the earliest stages of life, the brain makes one million new neural connections each second. This period of rapid brain-building in the early years lays the foundation for later learning and even physical health.

Key Findings

High Levels of Support for Early Childhood Policy Improvements

High Levels of Support for Public Pre-Kindergarten

Near Unanimous Support for Child Care Quality Ratings

High Levels of Support for Well-Child Checks

Mixed Perception of State Lawmakers’ Attention to Children’s Issues

Discussion / Public Opinion & Evidence-Based Policy: Overlaps & Opportunities

Early childhood experts agree that children’s well-being takes a team to build – a team that includes families, but also child care providers, early childhood educators, health care professionals, and policy makers.

The survey reflects that there are key places where Mississippians’ opinions and priorities align with solid evidence and trusted research that point the way to good policy and practice. These include:

Mississippi’s children face many problems – and state government has a role to play in addressing them. The well-being of many of Mississippi’s children is on a shaky foundation, with 28% of children living in poverty. Mississippians are aware of the many issues facing the state’s youngest residents and want to see state law makers demonstrate a greater commitment to children.

Early childhood education is an investment that pays off.
According to Nobel Prize-winning economist, Dr. James Heckman, investment in early childhood education promotes optimal development in children and yields substantial economic benefits, short and long-term, to the community. Seventy-nine percent of Mississippians agree that spending money on quality early childhood education will save the state money long-term. Respondents reveal that they think a high priority should be placed on quality early education and child care.

Our state is missing opportunities to do the right thing at the right time.