Building Strong Foundations

The earliest years of life are a period of incredible growth and opportunity to shape strong and positive development from the start. Good health, secure and stable families, and positive early learning environments are necessary to foster children’s physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development during this significant period.

Read From the Ground Up: Establishing Strong Core Policies for Infants, Toddlers, and Families which describes the rationale for investing in programs that support children’s development in the earliest years of life.

ZERO TO THREE and CLASP’s Building Strong Foundations: Advancing Comprehensive Policies for Infants, Toddlers, and Families project seeks to promote federal and state policies that comprehensively address the wellbeing of infants, toddlers, and families. This project is guided by a Policy Framework, which is comprised of four principles describing the needs of infants and toddlers and their families based on a large body of developmental research.

Read ZERO TO THREE and CLASP’s Policy Framework for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.

ZERO TO THREE and CLASP identified 13 policies core to advancing infant-toddler wellbeing. Each core policy area falls within one sector of the Policy Framework. Read the 13 core policies.



Good physical and mental health is one of the most important factors for babies’ and their parents’ overall wellbeing. Infants and toddlers need to be in good health to learn and grow properly. Parents need to be healthy, too, in order to provide for their families and spend quality time with their children.


Economic instability is often at the core of other challenges faced by young children and their families. Infants’ and toddlers’ parents need good jobs in responsive workplaces and access to assistance when they are unable to make ends meet.


Infants and toddlers need strong parents who are adequately supported and have effective parenting skills. All parents want to give their children the best start in life, but some need extra support and resources to fully nurture their children’s development.


Families with infants and toddlers need high-quality, affordable early care and education programs that support child development, promote parents’ engagement in children’s learning, and allow parents to work or go to school.