Policy Resource

ZERO TO THREE Policy Center Experts and Staff

ZERO TO THREE's Policy Center brings to bear more than 40 years of research-based expertise on infant and toddler development. Our team of experts ensure that public policies reflect current research and best practices in support of our nation’s very young children.

The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center is a nonpartisan, research-based resource for policymakers and advocates on the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers. We advance public policy solutions and investments that promote good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences for all infants and toddlers, with special emphasis on those who are most in need.

Our multi-disciplinary and cross-sector approach helps policymakers and professionals understand how to buffer the effects of adversity and maximize healthy development for our nation’s very young children.

Policy Center Leadership

Federal Policy

We develop a federal policy agenda for every Congress, policy briefs, and other materials to disseminate our ideas, and work with other organizations to strengthen our collective efforts on behalf of children and families.

We also provide information and assistance to Congress based on the science of early development to promote legislation that affects infants and toddlers and their families. We build relationships with Members of Congress and their staff and are a full-service legislative operation, from conceptualization, to drafting or commenting on proposals and legislative language, to mobilizing to move legislation.

Additionally, we interface with the Executive Branch to bring the science of early development to implementing policies affecting infants and toddlers and their families. We develop relationships with Administration officials to provide informal feedback on policies affecting infants, toddlers, and families, and provide formal comments on regulatory proposals.

Federal Policy Experts

State Policy

ZERO TO THREE staff provide technical assistance (TA) through federally-funded TA centers, privately-funded topical TA projects, and fee-for service agreements with individual states, communities, tribes and territories.

Our TA focuses on assisting states, territories, tribes and communities in improving services, policies and systems to better meet the needs of infants, toddlers and their families.

As a technical assistance provider, we develop relationships, help identify challenges and possible solutions, provide information on best practice and other states’ models, broker technical assistance in areas beyond our expertise, and connect TA recipients for peer-topeer learning. We recognize that TA recipients will meet their goals in diverse ways based on their unique history, environmental context, leadership, resources, and capacity—that there is not a single route–and tailor our TA to meet those needs.

State Policy Experts


Through the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network, we provide resources and opportunities for infanttoddler professionals to use their knowledge and expertise to impact public policy for infants, toddlers and families. At the federal level, we engage the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network in support of our policy agenda through grassroots and grasstops mobilization, digital organizing, and traditional and social media. At the state level, we provide technical assistance to state advocates and professionals to develop advocacy and communications campaigns that advance infanttoddlers issues.

Advocacy Experts

Child Welfare

The child welfare system in the U.S. does not recognize the unique needs of infants and toddlers. Maltreatment builds brains that are better primed for fight or flight than for curiosity and exploration. Multiple foster care placements rob 0 to 3 year olds of the stable nurturing relationships that are foundational to their healthy development. At the local level, ZERO TO THREE focuses on innovative alternatives to standard child welfare practice through the Safe Babies Court Team approach. At the state and federal level we offer policy recommendations that will transform standard child welfare practice into child- and family-focused solutions.

Child Welfare Experts


Physical health is the foundation that allows young children to learn, grow and master new skills and abilities. Policymakers should supportchildren’s health and wellness from birth to age three.

Health Experts

Early Care and Education (ECE)

Second only to the immediate family, child care is the setting in which early childhood development unfolds for nearly six million children under age 3. Quality child care offers the promise of a solid future by providing our youngest children nurturance, support for early learning and language development, and preparation for school. Policymakers can ensure that families are able to seize the potential of quality child care for their infants and toddlers.

ECE Experts

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH)

IECMH is the developing capacity of the child from birth to 5 years old to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, manage, and express a full range of emotions; and explore the environment and learn—all in the context of family, community, and culture.

IECMH is also a term used to describe the full continuum of services and supports (i.e., promotion, prevention, and treatment) necessary to promote healthy development, prevent mental health problems, and treat mental health disorders. Investing early in supporting the mental health of infants and young children will yield benefits later and will allow states to forgo much more costly interventions that all too often result when mental health challenges go unaddressed.

IECMH Experts

It’s Time to Think Babies!

Infants and toddlers don’t have a voice in the public policy process, but you do! Join our policy network for news updates and opportunities to Be a Big Voice for Little Kids.

Join our Policy Network