State Initiatives

This is a collection of articles about innovative state policies and initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families.

These articles are categorized by the elements of the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center’s Infant & Toddler Policy Framework. The framework focuses on key strategies across four main areas known to impact the healthy development of infants and toddlers:

Good Health

Physical Health, Social and Emotional Health and Developmental Screening

Strong Families

Basic Needs, Family Support, Home Visiting, Child Welfare and Paid Family Leave

Positive Early Learning Experiences

Child Care, Early Head Start and Early Intervention Policy


Governance/Leadership, Quality Improvement, Accountability and Evaluation, Financing, Public Engagement and Political Will Building, Regulations and Standards, Professional Development

Search for articles by state or browse by topics below.

Browse Early Childhood System Subtopics

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    Quality Improvement

    It is critical that states create and support strategies that drive continuous improvement in quality of early childhood services and their delivery.

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    Public Engagement and Political Will Building

    It is critical that states and communities build broad and diverse constituencies to support investment in comprehensive early childhood systems.

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    States must develop fiscal policies that move systems toward delivery of services in a comprehensive manner and that provide financial incentives for ongoing quality and system improvement.

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    Regulations and Standards

    Early childhood systems must enhance and align standards both within and across systems.

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    Governance and Leadership

    Coordinated governance structures or planning bodies can help states develop and implement a vision for a high quality early childhood system from prenatal to third grade.

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    Accountability and Evaluation

    States can improve the services and systems that support young children and families by identifying measurable outcomes and indicators.

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    Professional Development in States

    Professionals working with young children and families—whether in child care, home visiting programs, health clinics, or other settings—need the skills to effectively support children’s development a…