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Do you know what lies ahead for Montana? No need to consult a crystal ball. The clearest way to envision what the future holds is to take a look at the babies. They tell us an important story of what it is currently like to be a very young child in this state and the important resources that can change the future life course for the many children who are not getting off to the best start.

A baby’s early experiences shape the brain’s architecture into a strong—or fragile—foundation for learning, health, and success in the workplace. Adverse early experiences, such as poverty, can weaken babies’ brain development and follow them their entire lives. A state’s ability to build a strong, competitive economy in an increasingly global marketplace is jeopardized when the future of so many young children is compromised. By evaluating these facts and using them to improve relevant programs and services, Montana can re-prioritize infants, toddlers, and their families and change the future for all of us.

All babies in Montana, and across the United States, need good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences to foster healthy brain development and realize their full potential. How does Montana compare with the United States in providing these supports?

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