Ten (very good!) reasons we should invest in early childhood education.

  1. Almost half the children who will become violent as adolescents can be identified as early as age 7.
  2. Many who remain violent are diagnosed with conduct disorder (a serious behavioral and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens). Just one case of conduct disorder has a lifetime cost of $280,000. An estimated 85,000 Canadian kids experience a conduct disorder.
  3. Forty to fifty percent of children with conduct disorders go on to develop antisocial personality disorder (characterized by a long-standing pattern of a disregard for other people’s rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights).
    Source: Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK
  4. Up to 50% of prisoners in Canada have a personality disorder (patterns of behaviour, mood, social interaction, and impulsiveness that cause distress to one experiencing them, as well as to other people in their lives). Incarcerating them costs taxpayers an estimated $770 million a year.*
    Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
    *Calculation based on incarceration of 50% of estimated 14,000 federal inmates at annual cost of $144,364 per year. Source: Statistics Canada Adult correctional services.
  5. At $34 dollars per child per year, the Triple P Parenting Program, on a community-wide basis, pays for itself if only 6% of cases of conduct disorder are averted. The Triple P Program can avert up to 48% of conduct disorder cases.
  6. Seventy percent of mental health problems and illnesses begin during childhood or adolescence. In Canada the lifetime economic cost of childhood mental health disorders is $200 billion.
    Source: Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health in Canada, Mental Health Commission, 2012
  7. If every Grade 1 classroom in Canada played the PAX Good Behaviour Game, taxpayers would save an estimated $1.74 billion by the  time children reach age 21.
    Source. PAXIS Institute, based on figures from Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2011
  8. By age 21, if they play the PAX Good Behaviour Game, 32,371 fewer young Canadians will need any form of special education services. 36,179 fewer young people will develop serious drug addictions. 43,006 fewer young people will contemplate suicide.
    Source: PAXIS Institute, based on long-term studies
  9. "If you compare the rate of return to investment in early childhood, what you find is the rate of return is as high as it is on portfolios held in the Dow Jones, between 1945 and 2005, before the meltdown. So what you're getting is a very high return from a purely business standpoint." 
    Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman
  10. Raising Canada to the average level of early childhood investment in other advanced economies would cost $3 to $4 billion. That's about the same amount taxpayers spend annually on prison.
    Source: TD Economics report, 2013/Correctional Investigator of Canada, 2012.

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