Policy Resource

Indiana Group Brings Attention to the Needs of Infants and Toddlers

Feb 9, 2016

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 childrens 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 include: the states 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 Getting Ready for School Starts at Birth to the states Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) in December 2015. In the coming year, they will work with ELACs members and subcommittees to elevate infant/toddler policy issues and to begin to carry out these recommendations.

ZERO TO THREE has 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 Indianas Heroes for Recovery award for their efforts to raise awareness of early childhood mental health. Updated January 2016.

Download a copy of the issue brief at http://www.in.gov/fssa/files/Infant-Toddler_PolicyBrief.pdf.

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