Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families Early Experiences Matter

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From Baby to Big Kid

An e-newsletter that showcases how children learn and grow each month from birth to 3 years. From Baby to Big Kid translates the science of early childhood and offers strategies parents can tailor to their unique family situation and to the needs of their child.
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State and Community Policy

Policy decisions made at the state and community levels directly impact the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families.  The resources below will help you stay abreast of innovative state and community policy approaches across the country.

The Early Experiences Matter Policy Guide includes an paper on State Advisory Councils. To access the paper and the complete toolkit, click here.

Baby Matters: A Gateway to State Policies and Initiatives
Search the Baby Matters database for resource information on state policies and
initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families.

Community Initiatives
Learn about the community initiatives featured at ZERO TO THREE and Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s Invest in Children’s national policy summit on early childhood system building in communities.

National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative
Project of the Federal Child Care Bureau at ZERO TO THREE that is designed to support Child Care Development Fund administrators in their efforts to effect systems-wide improvements in infant and toddler child care.

State and Community Policy Resources


Inspiring Innovation: Creative State Financing Structures for Infant-Toddler Services
This joint paper from ZERO TO THREE and the Ounce of Prevention Fund highlights the work of four states—Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma—that have developed innovative financing structures to support services for at-risk infants and toddlers. It reveals key policy elements that cut across all four states, as well as strategic decisions, lessons, and recommendations critical to the establishment of particular financing structures that support high-quality programs for infants and toddlers. [ 3.48 MB Icon_pdf]

Building on the Promise: State Initiatives to Expand Access to Early Head Start for Young Children and their Families
This joint report by ZERO TO THREE and the Center for Law and Social Policy draws on newly conducted research on state efforts to expand or enhance access to Early Head Start services for infants, toddlers and their families.  The federal Early Head Start program was created to help minimize the disparities caused by poverty by supporting the healthy development of expectant mothers and low-income infants and toddlers in the context of their families and communities.  However, less than 3 percent of babies and toddlers who are eligible for Early Head Start are currently being reached.  This report is an in-depth study of current state initiatives to build upon Early Head Start, and includes an analysis of the lesson learned from state experiences, as well as recommendations to help other states expand the reach of Early Head Start.
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Click here to download state proflies.

Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers:  Recommendations for States
This report by ZERO TO THREE, drawing on the expertise of national and state leaders, offers recommendations and examples to states as they embark on an inclusive process to develop or refine research-based early learning guidelines for infants and toddlers.  This report focuses on the unique and foundational nature of the infant and toddler period and addresses issues related to both process and content.  It is offered as a road map for states as they develop policies and programs that lay a strong foundation for child development and future learning through responsive, appropriate, and high-quality early experiences.
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Charting Progress for Babies Policy Framework
In the first year of the multi-year Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care project; The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) collaborated with ZERO TO THREE to develop a Policy Framework. The Framework offers four fundamental principles which form a basis for the supports that all babies and toddlers in child care need. In addition, the Policy Framework offers 15 recommendations that should be tackled in state child care licensing, quality, and subsidy policies.
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Common Vision, Different Paths:  Five States’ Journeys toward Comprehensive Prenatal-to-Five Systems
A joint report from ZERO TO THREE and Pre-K Now articulates a common vision for early childhood systems in which programs work effectively with each other to provide high-quality early learning and comprehensive services.  The report reveals lessons learned from five states’ unique journeys toward such prenatal-to-five systems and identifies four cornerstones that have helped states succeed in this work.  Advocates and policymakers will also find guidance on building on the momentum around individual programs for the larger push toward a system that works for all young children and families. To request printed copies, e-mail Kimberly Lagomarsino.
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State Policies to Improve the Odds for the Healthy Development and School Readiness of Infants and Toddlers
How state policymakers and agency administrators choose to allocate funds, promote quality, and establish eligibility criteria influence who has access to essential supports and who does not.  This can be particularly important for vulnerable infants and toddlers.  Based on The National Center for Children in Poverty's (NCCP) Improving the Odds for Young Children project, this article profiles each state's infant and toddler policy choices, and recognizes choices that go above and beyond the minimum requirements dictated at the federal level.
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Characteristics of Early Childhood System Building Initiatives in Communities
Summarizes characteristics of early childhood system building initiatives in the communities featured at a national policy summit, “In Our Own Backyards:  Local Initiatives that Change Young Children’s Lives,” held in Cleveland on June 6 8, 2007 and co-hosted by ZERO TO THREE and Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s Invest in Children.
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In Our Own Backyards: Local Initiatives that Change Young Children's Lives
Building comprehensive systems for young children requires new ways of doing business at both the state and local levels.  Local communities in particular play an important role in building and managing an early childhood system, serving as laboratories for what can and does work.  This article announces a national policy summit, cohosted by ZERO TO THREE and Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s Invest in Children, that focuses on early childhood system building in communities, and also gives tips on how to Be a Voice for Babies and play an active role in your community's system building.

This article is excerpted from In Our Own Backyards: Local Initiatives that Change Young Children’s Lives, published in the July 2006 issue of the Zero to Three Journal.
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Helping Young Children Succeed

Describes how state policymakers can support the healthy social-emotional development of young children from birth to age five. The brief defines early childhood social-emotional development; describes what can happen when children face emotional and behavioral problems; and outlines what actions can be taken at the state level to support healthy social-emotional development in babies and young children (joint research and policy report developed by ZERO TO THREE and the National Conference of State Legislatures).
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