Starting Off Right:
Promoting Child Development from Birth in State Early Care
and Education Initiatives
Rachel Schumacher and Katie Hamm with Anne Goldstein of
ZERO TO THREE,
and Joan Lombardi of The Children's Project.
Starting Off Right: Promoting Child Development from
Birth in State Early Care and Education Initiatives
describes a menu of strategies some states are using to improve early care
and education for infants and toddlers, and supports to their families. In
the period from birth to age 3, early experiences shape the architecture
of the brain--including cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional
capacities--at a phenomenal rate. Early care and education is a key
strategy states can use to promote positive development for very young
children, including those in low-income families. And since a growing
proportion of very young children spend extensive time in the care of
someone other than a parent, state policies to promote the quality and
continuity of those settings and relationships should be part of a
strategy to assure children are ready for school.
Despite compelling evidence of the importance of child development from
birth, a clear state early care and education policy agenda that addresses
infants and toddlers is still emerging. This paper provides illustrative
state examples of specific policies to promote child development birth to
3, as well as ideas for state funding and governance structures that
provide attention and resources for all children birth to age 5.
This project was made possible through a grant from the A.L. Mailman
Family Foundation, along with general support from the Annie E. Casey
Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Joyce
Foundation, the Moriah Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and
the Rockefeller Foundation.