Policy Resource

Indiana Group Brings Attention to the Needs of Infants and Toddlers

Jul 9, 2017

Indiana's Happy Babies Brain Trust, a work group of public and private leaders, released an issue brief in November 2015 laying out recommendations for state action to support early childhood development from birth to age three.

The issue brief summarizes research on the importance of early learning and development and provides data on indicators of young children’s wellbeing in Indiana. Notably, over half of Hoosier infants and toddlers live in low-income households that may struggle to afford high-quality early care and education programs. Other areas of concern discussed include: the state’s infant mortality rate, lack of widespread early screening and intervention for developmental delays, and a growing number of young children in the child welfare system.

The brief provides seven recommendations for state action to address these challenges, listing both easy wins and long-term strategies for each recommendation. This includes strategies to: raise public awareness about the impact of toxic stress in early childhood; improve systems of developmental screening and referral, and strengthen the states early care and education and home visiting programs. The Happy Babies Brain Trust presented the findings of their issue brief to the state’s Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) in December 2015. Sharing the brief with the ELAC was a first step toward embedding infant-toddler priorities in the ELAC’s work, including efforts to add infant-toddler indicators to the ELAC’s data dashboard and to incorporate a greater focus on infant-toddler policy priorities in the ELAC’s subcommittees.

ZERO TO THREE facilitated meetings of the Happy Babies Brain Trust in 2014, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The group was recently awarded Mental Health America of Indiana’s Heroes for Recovery award for their efforts to raise awareness of early childhood mental health.

Learn more about ZERO TO THREE’s work with Indiana and two other states (Oregon and Vermont) that participated in this technical assistance project in Advancing State Policies for Infants and Toddlers: Lessons Learned From Three States.

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