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50-State Progress and Landscape Report

The Year’s Developments and Trends in State Early Childhood Policy and Advocacy


Dear Early Childhood Policy Partners and Champions,

As we look back on 2022—a year the world did its best to get back to “normal” and put the pandemic’s devastation behind us—some of us aren’t rushing to put the past two-and-a-half years in the rearview mirror. There were numerous COVID-era “silver linings.” 

The pandemic put a spotlight on some key truths about early childhood policy and advocacy—principles advocates are now working to advance further.

To start, steady infusions of cash help families thrive. The enhanced Child Tax Credit cut child poverty in half, reduced food insecurity, and helped families meet monthly expenses. Receiving direct economic supports each month, instead of annually through tax returns, meant fixing the car or paying an unexpected health care bill without plunging families into financial crisis. Seizing the moment, advocates are pushing for child tax credits and earned income tax credits at the state level, and you can read about their successes in Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia.

Child care is essential. The child care crisis came into focus in the spring of 2020, when the collapsing economy made it clear that “essential workers” include child care providers. Since that time, we’ve engaged in new discussions about the role of high-quality child care in economic recovery and resilience. Advocates are winning new funding and system reform. New Mexico and the District of Columbia established new, sustainable funding streams that will begin to close the gap between what child care providers earn and what they are worth. And the six Child Care NEXT states are working to transform their state child care systems.

Working together is more effective—and equitable. The pandemic blurred the lines that divide the “lanes” we work in, and more diverse state constituencies are working to sustain the trust and cooperation forged in the crisis of the pandemic. My mind immediately goes to Connecticut, where early childhood advocates, child care providers, parents, and unions worked together during the pandemic to fight for the child care workforce. When the governor’s proposed budget didn’t match the rhetoric about the essential function of child care, the community activated for a statewide demonstration that turned the tide—and the budget.

There are certainly new challenges, like rising political polarization, and old challenges like austerity remain strong. But this past year builds on the one that came before it, with advocates breaking the traditional narrative, seizing silver linings, and moving toward bolder visions of what young children need—and indeed, deserve. Read on to learn more, and visit our state advocacy landscapes for state-by-state details.

Every child, every state, 

Helene Stebbins, Executive Director
Alliance for Early Success

Trends and Analysis

* 2022 State Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress Survey, Frontera Strategy, September 2022. (See “About This Report.”)

2022 Landscape and Progress by State

Select a state to see its 2022 policy landscape and legislative highlights.

of states reported an advance in maternal/child health.
of states reported an advance for the child-care workforce.
of states reported an increase in state funding for family economic security programs.
of states reported increases in pre-k funding.
of states reported that practitioners are involved in advocacy to a large/very large extent.
of states reported a win in child care.


November Ballot Measures

After most 2022 legislative sessions were complete, there was a November national general election. Thanks to several ballot measures put on the ballot by state advocates, voters in several states achieved additional advances for young children and their families.

South Dakota expanded Medicaid to people with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

New Mexico dedicated a share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to early childhood education for the first time—the culmination of more than a decade of work by families, communities, and advocates.

Colorado provided school meals free of cost for all children statewide and dedicated 0.1 percent of income tax revenue to a new state affordable housing fund. (However, the state’s voters also reduced the state income tax rate by 0.15 percent, which will reduce resources available for essential services like child care.)  

Massachusetts will create a 4-percent tax on incomes that exceed $1 million for education and transportation funding. West Virginia voters said no on a measure that would have provided a business tax cut, costing counties revenue.

Oregon’s measure that would ensure affordable health care as a fundamental right was passed by voters.

In 2022, there were six ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record for a single year. California, Michigan, and Vermont established state constitutional rights to abortion. Voters in Kansas (August) and Kentucky rejected amendments that would have stated that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding of abortions. Voters in Montana rejected a measure that would have declared infants born alive at any stage of development to be legal persons requiring medical care.


About this Report

The policy analysis in the Alliance for Early Success 50-State Progress and Landscape Report, was prepared by the Alliance policy team, with special thanks to Frontera Strategy for conducting the 50-state survey and Danielle Ewen for her thoughtful review.

Mandy Ableidinger, Senior Policy Director
Mimi Aledo-Sandoval, Senior Policy Director
Jacy Montoya-Price, Senior Director, Advocacy and Issue Campaigns
Marquita Little Numan, Senior Director, Equity and Impact
Daniela Villasmil, Policy Associate
Albert Wat, Senior Policy Director

Helene Stebbins, Executive Director 

Individual state pages were compiled by Alliance staff from the sources credited on each page.

The 50-state landscape survey was completed by Frontera Strategy, a partner that supports advocacy efforts by providing qualitative and quantitative research services, including needs assessments and environmental scans, program and policy evaluation, statistical analyses, and survey research for associations, foundations, and nonprofit service organizations active in state capitols.

Jason Sabo

Lisa Kerber, PhD

Advocates working in all states and the District of Columbia completed the survey, and all 51 are represented in the data.

Frontera acknowledges Dr. Toni Watt’s expertise and contributions related to survey design and statistical analyses. Frontera also thanks Rita Furlow (Maine Children’s Alliance), Mandi Kimball (Children at Risk), Brian Schmidt (Kids Win Missouri), Libbie Sonnier, PhD (Louisiana Policy Institute for Children), and Deborah Zysman (Hawaiʻi Children’s Network), for participating in the cognitive interviews and offering feedback on survey instrument, as well as Alissa Marchant of Innovation Network, for assistance with survey design.

This report was edited by Stinson Liles, Director of Communications, Alliance for Early Success.

Suggested Citation: 

Alliance for Early Success (2022), 2022 50-State Progress and Landscape Report. Retrieved from

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