A study released Thursday, based on preschool efforts in Claremont, Manchester, Nashua and Coos County, shows that New Hampshire does not invest enough in education for children in vulnerable populations.

β€œ(The study shows a) substantial share of children in the state who are at risk of adverse developmental outcomes because of low family resources and other factors that can compromise healthy development in the first few years of life,” according to a Rand Corp. study.

The yearlong, in-depth study of programs in the four communities show that most programs for children in at-risk populations rely on federal funds, which are not enough to reach all the children and families in New Hampshire that could benefit.

The study found that New Hampshire could help children throughout their lives, and save the state a significant amount of money down the road, by investing in early childhood education programs and home visit support for families.

β€œNew Hampshire would gain from further investments in two types of evidence-based early childhood interventions: home visiting and preschool education, with estimated returns of $2 to $6 in benefits for every $1 invested,” the study says.

In the four communities studied, ways to implement high-quality preschool education and home visitation programs are being accomplished, according to the study.

The Granite State as a whole, however, has fallen behind other states, according to the study. New Hampshire is one of seven states that does not use state dollars to fund preschool, either through public schools or private programs, the study shows.

Home visiting programs, for example, serve up to 1,100 families and children in New Hampshire each year, far below the estimated 9,200 who could benefit, according to the study.

The study recommends that the state invest more in strategic early childhood programs and reach out to nonprofits and businesses to help fund these programs.