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Child Trends

Child Trends is the nation’s leading research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives of children and youth, especially those who are most vulnerable.

Child Trends researchers focus on understanding how early childhood experiences set the stage for children’s development and well-being, with expertise in early learning and care settings, family supports, maltreatment prevention , home visiting, child welfare, trauma informed care, and maternal and child health. Child Trends embeds equity into each decision it makes to address the systemic, discriminatory structures that negatively impact children of color. The organization’s work is built on the principle that programs and policies that serve children are most effective when they are informed by data and evidence and grounded in deep knowledge of child and youth development.

Our state allies can call on Child Trends to:

Support the use of data to combat disparities and communicate equitable policy solutions.

Child Trends leads the Early Childhood Data Collaborative and supports allies by sharing early childhood data and research-based policy recommendations to understand and address racial and economic disparities. Researchers work with partners to embed a racial equity lens at every stage of the research process, address potential bias, disaggregate data by race, and identify questions to understand institutional policies that produce disparities. Child Trends also supports allies in how to communicate effectively and equitably about data and findings to support policy and advocacy efforts.

Help them translate research into language and framing for policymakers.

When framed effectively, equity-focused data can help make a powerful case for effective early childhood policy. Child Trends’ provide expertise on the collection, communication, and application of research and data around early childhood policy issues, such as early childhood system responses to COVID-19 , implementation and use of CCBDG funds, pre-K data and evaluations, child care quality, workforce needs, young children with disabilities, young children who have experienced abuse or neglect, and dual-language learners. Support includes input on research approaches (such as understanding when and how to survey providers and parents on their needs) or help interpreting current research.

Provide expertise on Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems (ECIDS).

To fully realize the potential of coordinated state ECE data systems, state policymakers, and administrators need to establish policies, practices, and structures that ensure public access and support for stakeholders to use data equitably to guide decision-making. The Child Trends’ Early Childhood Data Collaborative specializes in support related to data identifying key policy questions, stakeholder engagement, governance, data mapping, and strategic communications needed to guide the development and use of integrated, longitudinal early learning data systems.

Additional Alliance-funded support for state advocacy includes: 

  • Supporting the development of the Alliance’s racial equity learning opportunities. Child Trends is providing expertise in the collection and use of data and research to guide the group and inform the Alliance’s broader Allies for Antiracism initiative. 
  • Developing policy-relevant, actionable research. Child Trends develops briefs, fact sheets, blogs, and presentations that elevate research and data that are relevant to early childhood advocates, including home visiting and telehealth, understanding implications of COVID-19 on policy and practice, the intersection between early childhood and child welfare, and supporting young children with disabilities.
  • Strengthening child welfare and early learning connections. Child Trends is providing expertise to the Alliance on ways that young children and their families intersect with the child welfare system and strategies for supporting families to prevent maltreatment and entry into foster care.