The Alliance for Early Success regularly connects allies and the field at large for discussions and presentations on advocacy in early childhood, early childhood education, and current issues in early childhood. And we also connect them with leading national early childhood policy organizations — not only to benefit from their expertise, but to help state needs influence federal action.
5/18/2023 — Information about availability, eligibility, and applying for publicly funded state services is often time-consuming to find, and antiquated systems are difficult to navigate. A new federal executive order, however, might just change that with a simple notion: requiring state governments to treat families like customers. New Practice Lab will shared their recently released research on complexity in early education programs across the 50 states along with updates on federal efforts to simplify access to early childhood programs. We were then joined by allies from South Carolina, a state meeting this challenge head-on with their recently unveiled First Five SC portal, which aims to transform the way families access publicly funded early childhood programs and services in the state.
04/19/2023 — Federal protections for Native American children and families are under threat. Is your state listening to tribal nations to plan how to respond? In this National Issues > State Action webinar we learned from Native American and ICWA leaders about the cultural importance of extended family, elders, and community; the nuts and bolts of ICWA; and state-level advocacy we can do to ensure that the protections established by ICWA are maintained in states even if the federal law is overturned.
02/28/2023 — It is clear that good infant health starts before birth and that equitable access to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care are critical for long-term health for babies and their parents. Yet the maternal health crisis in this country has persisted, and it’s a crisis that disproportionally impacts communities of color. In this powerful presentation and panel discussion we heard from maternal health experts advocates on the disparities in maternal health and—most important—what policy advocates can do to eliminate them.
09/14/2022 — Human-centered design (HCD), or user-centered design, has its origins in commercial product design, but it is increasingly being applied to policy development and implementation, including in early childhood. In this webinar, we took a fascinating look at the key principles of HCD and some real-life examples of their effectiveness.
02/16/2022 – Poverty in the U.S. has plummeted lately thanks to a robust, pandemic-era federal Child Tax Credit, and now it looks like that assistance might end abruptly. What could that mean for families and young children, and what can be done about it at the state level? In this rich presentation, we heard from two sets of researchers who asked what happens when you give cash to families with newborns – and are finding answers using very different approaches. We also learned from our Allies in New York about how they passed and are implementing a groundbreaking state-level anti-poverty act.
01/19/2022 – In 2019, advocates and community partners from around the state of Louisiana came together to make young children a priority issue in the governor’s race. Polling data showed it was a priority for voters, and both candidates were talking about it. As we move into 2022, with 36 governors up for election in November, we can all learn from this demonstration of the power in uniting a diverse coalition around making early childhood a policy priority.
11/17/2021 – In November, we were joined by Jonathan Metzl, author of the best-selling Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland. He has done extensive research on voters who oppose health policies that would benefit them, and shared some guidance on advocating for strong early childhood policies in the current polarized climate.
10/13/2021 — Policy and data leaders from the diversitydatakids.org project introduced us to the down-to-the-neighborhood data in their new Child Opportunity Index 2.0 — and gave us some strategies for making this kind of data part of effective advocacy.
7/21/2021 — The pandemic has increased stress for children, parents, and the early childhood workforce. The good news is we have research-based models that are effective and resources from the federal COVID relief funds that can support the workforce as they manage their own stress and the social-emotional needs of the children returning to their care. We had a fascinating and actionable dive into Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) with Dr. Walter Gilliam from the Yale Child Study Center, Dr. Lee Johnson III from ZERO TO THREE, and Callan Wells from Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students.
06/16/2021 — This series of conversations about compensation pressures and lessons learned so far included state and national early childhood advocacy organizations, local providers, national workforce advocates, and workforce researchers. We heard lots of examples of what works — and what needs to change.
05/19/2021 — Outdated perceptions about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often at the foundation of states’ failure to adequately screen, assess, and intervene in early childhood. Dr. Ami Klin, a leading national voice on autism and autism policy, helped us see how bringing an early brain-development framing to the table can lead to better policy — and better outcomes for these young children and their families. Dr. Klin captivated the Alliance webinar audience with new evidence that fuels a diversity-not-disability perspective and paves the way for more effective — and equitable — early screening and diagnosis model.
04/21/2021 — The Alliance for Early Success and Topos Partnership explore concrete, research-based strategies for effectively engaging less race-attentive audiences to support policies for racial equity. Topos Partnership is a research and consulting firm built on deep expertise in the cognitive and social sciences. They have conducted research on talking to new audiences about racial equity and have worked with advocates to begin to operationalize those findings.
03/17/2021 — RAPID-EC has been surveying a national representative sample of families with young children since April 2020. In this webinar, we hear the story about children and families that’s emerging from the data and ideas about what policy responses are needed to respond to the toll the pandemic is taking on these families.
02/17/2021—To develop equity-focused, data-driven policies requires equity principles be applied to how we think about and use data. This includes what research and policy questions we ask, how we engage with stakeholders to interpret data, and how we communicate. Carlise King and Esther Gross of Child Trends, combining with a state perspective, give a critical look at how to incorporate racial equity principles into how you use and communicate data in your advocacy work.
12/16/2020—In a spirited and passionate conversation, Lori McClung of Advocacy & Communication Solutions and Jason Sabo of Frontera Strategy provided clear and actionable advocacy and lobbying guidance that will help advocates achieve policy change and—more important—help us dispel the reluctance and discomfort that many c3s (and many of their funders) have around policy advocacy. Attendees also heard from state advocates in both Idaho and the District of Columbia about their strategies and success.
11/18/2020 — In the Alliance for Early Success’ most anticipated National Issues> State Action presentation to date, scholar and author Dr. Ibram Kendi spoke with the Alliance’s Communications Director Stinson Liles about antiracism and early childhood policy. Kendi, the author of New York Times bestsellers Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be An Antiracist, expanded on his foundational belief that racial inequity is a problem of bad policy, not bad people.
10/21/2020 — The Alliance for Early Success was joined by the Children’s Funding Project for an important conversation about funding streams. As we begin to think beyond COVID relief funding and about a future where early childhood programs are better and more sustainably funded, it will be important to consider all of the revenue streams possible. We discussed ways to advocate for both a bigger slice—and a bigger pie.
9/16/2020 — What will it take to build a post-pandemic child-care system that truly serves children, families, providers, educators, and our economy with equity and quality at its core? The Build Stronger Child Care Policy Roadmap identifies four key areas of work, each with a set of short- and long-term strategies and policy ideas that advocates and policy leaders who work at the state and federal levels should consider advocating for or implementing.
In this much-anticipated National Issues>State Action presentation, we unveiled the roadmap and heard from state advocates and national experts who helped create it.
The Call to Action
Tips for Advocates
7/30/2020 — This informative child welfare session explored the current state of implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act with respect to prevention programs that strengthen families with young children and examined disparities by race and ethnicity.
Our featured speakers were Allison Blake, CEO of Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut and former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and Jeremy Kohomban, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Children’s Village and President of Harlem Dowling.
7/24/2020 —Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG, Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, spoke powerfully on the legacy of slavery and structural racism as key drivers of high rates of Black infant and maternal mortality. In a keynote presentation and then in a smaller discussion group with state early childhood advocates, she explored key actions state and national advocates can take to dismantle racist systems and structures that contribute to poor maternal health and birth outcomes.
Dr. Crear-Perry is a nationally recognized thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities and recently addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge a human rights framework to improve maternal mortality.
The Keynote Recording
The Discussion Group Recording
Juneteenth, 2020 — On this National Issues>State Action call, we were fortunate to be joined by an incredible line-up of guests who joined Alliance staff in recognition and celebration of Juneteenth by sharing steps that organizations can take to center equity in their policy pursuits and examples of policy opportunities that address systemic racism.
6/05/2020 — This was an information-packed debut of our National Issues>State Action format. Our speakers included Hope Cooper from the True North Group, Cathy Palm from the Center for Children’s Justice in Pennsylvania, Deb Stein from Partnership for America’s Children, Christine Johnson Staub from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and Kristen Lang, who founded and led the High Quality Early Education for Dependent Youth (HQEEDY) Collaborative in Florida.
5/15/2020 — We were joined by great panelists who got attendees up to speed on the Governor’s Emergency Education Fund Relief (GEER) and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and strategies for using these relief funds for early childhood programs and other supports for children and families. Presenters included Sara Mead, Bellwether Education Partners; Beth Caron, National Governor’s Association; Elizabeth Groginsky, New Mexico Secretary of Early Childhood Education; and Becca Steinhoff, Wyoming Kids First.
5/8/2020 — For this topic, we replaced our traditional webinar with a working call on “What’s Next” for the early childhood landscape. After a federal overview and a look at some new common language around child care, the group divided into three brakouts to discuss “Opening Strong,” “Building It Stronger,” and “Federal Advocacy.”
5/1/2020 — In this call, co-hosted by the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, we had an in-depth discussion about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on immigrant children and families. We had an overview of federal legislation to address the needs of immigrant families; key services and assistance that local and state organizations are providing to immigrant families; the critical role that philanthropy plays in supporting positive outcomes for immigrant families; and concrete actions that advocates can take to improve policies for immigrant children and families. Our great line-up of presenters included Wendy Cervantes, Director of Immigration and Immigrant Families, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Denise Dell Isola and Ausannette Garcia-Goyette, Irving Harris Foundation; Rebecca Vonderlack Navarro, PhD, and Jose Marco, Latino Policy Forum; and Yael Ross, Director, Center for New American Children, Children at Risk (Texas).
4/24/2020 — On this call, we looked at the enhanced flexibility and options in Medicaid and CHIP as a result of the federal emergency declarations and pandemic relief legislation and how states advocates can maximize health and early childhood services. Our guests were Elisabeth Wright Burak, Senior Fellow, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families; Adriana Kohler, Policy Director, Texans Care for Children; Amy Zaagman, Executive Director, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health; and Leanne Barrett, Senior Policy Analyst, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. We also got an update on the latest federal movement.
4/17/2020 — On this call, we looked more closely at the mounting pressures state finances face from the pandemic and economic fallout — and how the $130 billion dollars in direct aid to states and tribes in the CARES Act can be leveraged. We had two experts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on the call, who will also highlight the implications of the pandemic for communities of color and steps that can be taken with relief provided in federal packages to address inequities. We’ll also hear from state advocates about their work to advocate and shape discussions on the ground.
4/10/2020 — This call covered the implications of the legislation’s small business aid for child care and other non-profit providers of services for children and families, and issues that have recently come to light regarding the implementation of the loan provisions. We heard from Cynthia Ward Wikstrom of Main Street Alliance and Linda Smith of the Bipartisan Policy Center. We also covered state resources with Lynette Fraga of Child Care Aware of America, and heard from state advocates in Illinois and Louisiana. We wrapped with some counsel on the importance of states reaching out to their congressional delegations to inform policies for future COVID-19 legislative proposals.
4/3/2020 — In this call, we were fortunate to be joined by three great panelists: Maurice Ensellem with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), Patti Prunhuber with the Child Care Law Center, and Grace Reef with the Committee for Economic Development – who talked about Unemployment Insurance and the new types of relief offered through the CARES Act, in addition to hearing about work being done to build a Hill-facing campaign that brings us from CARES to future congressional actions.
3/27/2020 — This first call in the series was convened as an emergency response to the growing need to share fast-changing information about pending legislation. We were joined by several national and state experts, including: Danielle Ewen, EducationCounsel; Sarah Rittling, First Five Years Fund; Tanya Goldman, CLASP; Elisabeth Burak, Georgetown Center for Children and Families; Catriona Macdonald, Association of Tribal and State Home Visiting Initiatives (ASTHVI); John Sciamanna, Child Welfare League of America; Bill Jaeger, Colorado Children’s Campaign; Leanne Barrett, Rhode Island Kids Count; Elisabeth Fraser, Connecticut Association for Human Services; and Merrill Gay, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.
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