Policy Resource

Building Strong Foundations for Families Project: Impacts and Lessons Learned

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 to ensure that families with infants and toddlers have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive in their state.

This video series captures thoughts from close-out interviews conducted with participants from each state in February 2022. All states were asked the same questions, and this is a sample of how they responded.

Advancing Infant-Toddler State Policies

Using the four-part framework in Building Strong Foundations, a joint publication of ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), to guide the work, ZTT supported public-private teams in participating states to develop, refine and make progress toward a statewide infant-toddler policy agenda.

State teams reviewed data, examined their state landscape, and identified opportunities for changing and improving policies, practices and systems that impacted babies and their families. Goal areas covered everything from maternal health to early childhood governance. To learn more about how each state chose to focus their efforts, visit the BSFF Project Page.

This video highlights how BSFF state teams elevated infant-toddler policy issues and made progress toward implementing their policy goals.

Expanding Public-Private Partnerships

States were asked to identify a core team of 5-7 participants who had authority to influence and make changes. Core teams were required to have representation from both public and private sectors and were cross-disciplinary. Based on individual state priorities, structure and capacity to advance policy, states were encouraged to compose teams that could include state agency representatives, advocates, professionals working with infants and toddlers, parents and parent organizing groups , philanthropists, and more.

Although the core group was the primary focus for technical assistance, state teams were also expected to engage additional stakeholders, including families and professionals with lived experience, in decision-making. This video highlights how a few of these states approached building and strengthening public private relationships and creating shared visions for change in infant and toddler policies.

Focusing on Equity

Rooted in discriminatory policies throughout U.S. history, racial disparities exist across nearly every measure of wellbeing, including health, economic security, and access to early learning experiences. We know that strong policies can be a tool to disrupt and dismantle institutional racism, promote equity and ensure every child in every family gets a strong start.

Participants in the BSFF project were asked to examine disaggregated data, invite impacted individuals to decision making tables and to closely examine the policies and practices that impact babies and their families in their individual states. To learn more about how this focus on equity allowed states to explore policies in a deeper way, watch the video below.

Centering Parent Voices

Strategies that center family voices are essential to addressing bias and advancing equity in policymaking. Families are the experts in their experiences and the services they use or need, and they bring unique power to the policymaking process with solid ideas on how to address problems in programs and processes.

This video highlights how some of the BSFF states responded when asked about their experiences in elevating family voices and giving families power in making policy decisions.

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