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Building Strong Foundations for Families

Building Strong Foundations for Families (BSFF), a state technical assistance project conducted from 2020-2022, was designed to assist selected states in building and strengthening comprehensive policies, programs and systems that ensure families with infants and toddlers have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

Using as a guide the four-part framework in Building Strong Foundations, a joint publication of ZERO TO THREE  and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the ZERO TO THREE state policy team supported public-private teams in 10 states to develop/refine and make progress on infant-toddler policy priorities.

Grounded in equity, the ZERO TO THREE BSFF project assisted states in using data to recognize disparities, invite impacted individuals to decision making tables, and take concrete steps to reform policies and strengthen systems. To learn more, read Building Strong Foundations: Racial Inequity in Policies that Impact Infants, Toddlers, and Families and Addressing Bias and Advancing Equity in State Policy.

The accordion below gives examples of states’ focus areas during the project. In addition to these, many states brought the “baby voice” to discussions about use of federal COVID-relief funds and other emerging opportunities.

Increase awareness around the importance of connecting with babies (0-3) to enhance reading readiness

All babies and pregnant women will receive comprehensive healthcare coverage

Make babies a policy priority by bringing statewide attention to what babies and families need to thrive through public awareness and advocacy

Coordinate Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health efforts in the state

Increase the number of eligible children accessing Early Intervention services

Collaboratively elevate and integrate parent voices in infant and toddler initiatives

Equitable and impactful distribution of COVID relief funds to support high-quality child care

Implementation of Medicaid billing for home visiting services

Development of prevention and family support for infants and toddlers in the Child Welfare system

Increase equity of knowledge about and access to infant and toddler programs across the state

Enhance alignment and coordination of infant-toddler programs and services, at state and local levels

Enhance provider training and technical assistance, focused on equity and enhancing coordination of care

Explore and work towards developing a “No Wrong Door” access to Part C Early Intervention Services

Expand access to high-quality, affordable child care in rural areas

Investigate and consider how to secure public investment for provider and staff compensation for those serving infants and toddlers

Coordinate available resources for families with infants and toddlers involved with the child welfare system

Expanding maternal coverage for one year postpartum

Expanded access to IECMH consultation services and increased diversity of workforce

Paid family and medical leave

Coordination and access to infant and early childhood services for families

Inform design and implementation of the newly announced state Office of Childhood

Strengthen infant-toddler focus in preschool

Development Grant Birth-Five activities related to child care subsidy and expansion of Pre-K

Increase access to high-quality infant-toddler child care

Workforce development and organizational capacity-building for infant-toddler ECE providers

Increase inclusion of American Indian content and leadership in infant-toddler care

Expansion and embedding of infant mental health practices so all are aware of infant mental health

Integrated quality data system on early childhood programs

Strengthen Tennessee’s comprehensive early EC system so families can connect

High-quality, affordable child care for infants and toddlers

Expanded home visiting access through Medicaid reimbursement

Maximize federal funds to expand eligibility for public assistance benefits for families with infants and toddlers

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