In October 2021, ZERO TO THREE and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) convened a group of state leaders and national experts to discuss strategies to promote the economic security of families with infants and toddlers. Four policy areas were addressed: cash assistance and tax credits, paid family and medical leave, housing, and education and training. Together, panelists and participants discussed the history of support in each of these areas, recent laws and legislative proposals, and examples of innovative practices.
Innovative policies and programs that promote economic security for families with infants and toddlers are emerging across the country. By creating and getting families onto pathways to prosperity, the harmful long-term consequences of poverty on the development of young children can be avoided.
In October 2021, ZERO TO THREE and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) convened a two-day virtual event for Building Strong Foundations state teams and other advocates, administrators, and stakeholders who receive technical assistance from CLASP or ZTT to better understand economic security policy and the intersections with early childhood policies; learn about best practices in states that reflect needs of families and communities; plan for and support effective implementation of relevant federal policy; and understand the role of early childhood stakeholders for promoting policies that support economic security for families with infants and toddlers. The convening occurred at a time when Congress was actively considering the Build Back Better Act, which could result in significant enhancements to traditional safety net programs.
This paper highlights the themes that emerged from the convening as well as key takeaways from each topical area. The hope is that early childhood stakeholders can more clearly see the role they can play in supporting the economic security of families and how this work is ultimately in service of stronger outcomes for our youngest children.
Learn more about Building Strong Foundations for Families, a state technical assistance project to build and strengthen baby-centered policies, programs, and systems, and review the Building Strong Foundations Framework, which contains state policies to address the wellbeing of infants, toddlers, and their families.