Senator Stan Rosenberg. Photo source: Senator Rosenberg's Facebook page.
Senator Stan Rosenberg. Photo source: Senator Rosenberg’s Facebook page

Children will be getting new attention from the Massachusetts Senate. Last week, the Senate announced that it’s launching a new initiative called Kids First that will work to improve the lives of the commonwealth’s children.

Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) told Boston Herald Radio that Kids First will be an effort to boost children’s resiliency and help them “become productive adults.”

Rosenberg named a group of senators who will “look at everything from education and nutrition to public health, housing and workforce development for ways to help the state’s youngest residents,” according to an AP story that ran in the Washington Times.

State Senator Sal DiDomenico. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
State Senator Sal DiDomenico. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Led by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), the group, in its first phase, will look at the key developmental years from birth to fourth grade. The group will then make budget and policy recommendations “to provide a blueprint for smart long term investments,” as DiDomenico’s Facebook page explains.

The first meeting will be on Wednesday, February 3rd, with Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Shonkoff is also a professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

DiDomenico expects the group to “have some recommendations by April,” according to the AP story, which adds, “Money for those proposals could be included in the Senate version of the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.”

In a press release, Rosenberg said, “From the kids sitting on early education waitlists, to the special needs students and English language learners who need more focus, to the college grads with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, we must do a better job of investing in children and students.”

In the same release DiDomenico said:

“Kids First will not only explore and identify the best practices and investments we can make for our children today, it will also pinpoint the long term actions we can take that will put children for generations to come on the path to productive adulthood.”

A longtime champion of early education, DiDomenico co-sponsored “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education” with Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley).

The other senators who are involved with the initiative are:

Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)

Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)

Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester)

Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville)

Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow)

Jason Lewis (D-Winchester)

Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem)

Richard Ross (R-Wrentham)

Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), and

James Welch (D-West Springfield)

Kids First has already made its social media appearance on Twitter using the hashtag #Kids1stMA.

A tweet from the Massachusetts Senate (@MA_Senate), quotes former Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville saying, “It’s refreshing to hear someone thinking about the long term.”

Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem) tweeted, “Looking forward to working w/ @SalDiDomenico on #Kids1stMA to put all MA kids on a path to long-term success.”

And Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) tweeted, “Proud to stand w/ @SenStan on @MA_Senate’s #Kids1stMA. To invest in our children is to invest in our future. #mapoli.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Kids1stMA and share your thoughts about how Massachusetts should invest in children’s education, growth, and development.

Making a sound investment in today’s children promises to pay off for years to come.