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Core Principles

These are the core principles that anchor the Child Care NEXT initiative. Competitive proposals will demonstrate the state’s experience, competencies, and commitment to these principles and ways of working throughout their responses – from the composition of the state team to the budget narrative.

Child Care NEXT believes that transformative social change requires building and sustaining political power, organizing, and advocacy capacity at all levels – from neighborhoods and communities to the state capitol, and everywhere in between. Successful campaigns facilitate collective and coordinated action among everyday community members, institutional leaders (e.g., civic, faith-based, business, education), advocacy organizations, policy researchers and experts, elected officials and other government leaders, and others in order to change public policies, as well as the social and cultural beliefs and norms that influence how policies are made.

Child Care NEXT seeks to transform child care policies and systems in states so that they serve children, families, providers, and educators effectively and equitably. This requires breaking away from current narratives of child care as a private family responsibility to recognizing it as a public good that benefits our entire society, and therefore, is firmly within the role of government. In this light, transformative change means rethinking current policies in every part of the system – access, quality, workforce, financing, etc. It means putting a stake in the ground about the changes that are needed, rather than doing only what we can afford or what’s politically feasible.

Child Care NEXT believes it’s critical for those who are most impacted by child care policies and programs to have a meaningful role in shaping the solution and campaign. The experiences and interests of families, children, early childhood educators, and providers should drive the policy agenda and the advocacy strategies. Successful campaigns authentically engage the voices and leadership of people who reflect the diverse range of the state’s communities, and mitigate barriers these individuals face in joining and participating fully at policy and advocacy tables.

Child Care NEXT believes transformative campaigns center racial equity in their work. We will look for an understanding and recognition of how institutionalized racism and white supremacy shaped and continues to shape American public policy, institutions, systems, culture, and narratives – including those found in early care and education – and a commitment to dismantle the legacies of racism by ensuring that increasing racial equity is at the center of what goals advocates and policy leaders pursue, who is at the table and leading such efforts, and how advocacy goals and strategies are developed and implemented.