JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi lawmakers finished up the latest hearings in the Senate Study Group on Women, Children and Families.

On Wednesday, senators heard from pediatricians and professors about how the state can better care for children through early intervention. Early intervention is the process of identifying and remedying developmental delays in children.

Services include speech therapy, physical therapy and other therapeutic options. Investing in developmental care not only means healthier children, it could also mean a healthier economy.

“I think what has come out of the hearings is that an early investment in our kids will promote lifelong health, and it’ll be important for our economy,” said Dr. Anita Henderson, a Hattiesburg clinic Pediatrician. “If we put that money in early, if we take those children early, we can improve the economy in Mississippi, the state of our health and on families.”

Only 1,592 children are currently receiving early intervention care throughout the entire state. With an estimated 5,000 additional children being born annually as a result of Mississippi’s abortion ban, childcare is slated to be a high priority ahead of the 2023 legislative session.