National Partners

Alliance national partners include a mix of research, policy, basic science, constituency organizations and advocacy groups that support advancing strong outcomes for young children, birth through age eight.

Alliance for Early Childhood Finance

Louise Stoney is an independent consultant specializing in early care and education policy and finance. She has consulted with policymakers, national organizations, academics, and foundations and advocates in 38 states. Louise has written extensively and also co-founded the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance and Opportunities exchange. Louise will provide technical assistance to states including Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. Areas of expertise include:

  • ECE financing
  • ECE cost modeling
  • ECE policy
  • Shared services strategies
  • QRIS finance, policy and implementation

Louise Stoney
Phone: (561) 588-9924

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The BUILD Initiative assists state leaders to develop policies and practices designed to assure a high-quality, comprehensive, equitable early childhood system of systems that supports the healthy development, care and learning of all children and that supports and engages their families.

BUILD will support states in their development, implementation and revision of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) to promote the early learning and development of young children, to clarify the relationship between QRIS and various outcomes, including child outcomes, and to address the ongoing racial, ethnic, cultural, home-language, and income-based disparities in school readiness. This work will be accomplished through customized technical assistance, cross-state learning tables, think tanks, web-based resources, and webinars. In addition, BUILD will augment its work building the capacity of leaders for equity with a strong focus on the connections between disparities and state policy formation or reform.

Gerry Cobb

Debi Mathias, Director, QRIS National Learning Network

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Center for Law and Social Policy

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) develops and advocates for policies that improve the lives of low-income people. They focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research, analysis, and effective advocacy, CLASP develops and promotes new ideas, mobilizes advocates, and directly assists governments to put in place strategies that deliver results that matter.

CLASP will support the efforts of state advocates and policymakers to increase access to high-quality child care and early education for low-income children by providing expert technical assistance (TA), researching promising policies, and disseminating high-quality information and resources. Their work will focus on implementation of the CCDBG reauthorization; maternal depression and potential policies to promote partnerships between mental health and early childhood stakeholders; and racial disparities in access to child care and early education. Deliverables may include memos, briefs, or webinars reflecting TA needs and lessons learned in each area. CLASP will also provide TA to Alliance partners in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Maine, and Washington, per their request.

Christine Johnson-Staub

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Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) is focused on achieving comprehensive public investments, which enable and reward the early childhood workforce to deliver high quality care and education for all children. CSCCE conducts cutting-edge research and proposes policy solutions aimed at improving how our nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce to ensure young children’s optimal development.

CSCCE's new State of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (SECW) is designed to sustain a focus on early childhood jobs and to assist advocates and policy makers in framing measurable policy goals to improve ECE jobs. The CSCCE will engage Alliance partners to get input about key workforce indicators that can assist their efforts, and to disseminate SECW materials. CSCCE will continue to provide rapid response technical assistance, participate in the ECDC, and work closely with NAEYC and New America on policy development and communication.

Lea Austin

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Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO)

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) works to strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes. CEELO works in partnership with SEAs, state and local early childhood leaders, and other federal and national technical assistance (TA) providers to promote innovation and accountability.

CEELO will focus on the early childhood workforce, working to promote effective teaching that improves children’s learning. In partnership with the BUILD Initiative and NAEYC, they will support State Learning Tables focused on state policy to improve the quality of teaching. A second project will focus on the newly revised Head Start Performance Standards and potential barriers to aligning Head Start and state pre-k programs.

Lori Connors-Tadros

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Center on the Developing Child

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard (the Center) is building, synthesizing and translating the science of early childhood development and its implications for policy and practice. The Center helps policymakers, civic leaders and practitioners make knowledge-based decisions in education, health and human services by synthesizing findings from multiple fields of study, translating those findings into actionable concepts, and exploring new media forms to reach diverse audiences. In addition to translating science, their Frontiers of Innovation initiative Center is focused on innovative new strategies to improve outcomes for young children. 

The Center will develop and disseminate research and tools to communicate the knowledge base around child development linked to explicit, science-driven theories of change. They will provide select TA to educate and inform state governors and legislators.

Al Race

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Child Trends

Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides research on a range of early childhood care and education topics, and distributes that knowledge to state and federal policymakers, practitioners, media, researchers, and funders of early care programs.

Child Trends will provide a range of strategic research and communication services to advance funding and support for quality early childhood care and education at the state level. Their focus on communications includes: 
infusing early childhood research and policy facts into social media through Twitter (YoungChildFacts), chats, toolkits, and blog posts; Publishing research-to-policy briefs that translate the research for a policymaker audience; and convening the communications directors from state organizations with the goal of sharing resources and strategies.

Child Trends is also the home of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC). They will continue to raise awareness about the importance of integrated data system so that policymakers, practitioners, and parents have access to and consistently use quality early childhood data to make decisions that improve outcomes for young children.

These services draw on the expertise Child Trends has in early childhood research and communications at the national and state levels on topics such as quality care, QRIS, child care, dual-language learning, health, family involvement, and social-emotional learning.

Frank Walter

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Committee for Economic Development

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) is a non-profit, non-partisan business-led public policy organization that conducts research on major economic and social issues, and actively informs and engages the business community in an effort to achieve policy reform. CED works to engage business leaders to expand access to high quality child care and Pre-K and other early learning settings.

CED will increase knowledge and awareness about the importance of quality child care, engage employers in support of effective state policies and call for increased funds for quality child care and CCDBG implementation. CED will recruit business leaders to become spokespeople for quality early care settings, publish an updated position statement on child care, and will hold business forums in Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, and Wisconsin to raise awareness and engagement of business leaders, draft fact sheets, talking points, op-eds, letters-to-the editor, and use social media to raise visibility about the need for high quality child care. Sometimes it is not “what is said” that resonates with policymakers but “who says it.”

Cindy Cisneros

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Council for a Strong America

The Council for a Strong America (CSA) is a network of unexpected messengers who champion research- based public investments that help at-risk children succeed. CSA mobilizes law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, faith leaders, and elite athletes and coaches to call for state policies that prioritize greater investments in young children.

CSA's five sibling organizations (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, ReadyNation, Shepherding the Next Generation, and Champions for America's Future) will identify, engage and mobilize new and existing unexpected messengers, conduct media campaigns, and carry out individual meetings with policymakers. CSA will work to protect and expand high quality birth through eight investments at the state level in collaboration with national and state allies.

Jeff Kirsch

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Council of Chief State School Officers

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a national, nonpartisan, membership organization representing the top education leaders across the nation. CCSSO members, the nation's chief state school officers, are committed to leading a public K–12 education system that prepares every child for lifelong learning, work, and citizenship. CCSSO, through leadership, advocacy, and service, assists chief state school officers and their organizations in achieving the vision of an American education system that enables all children to succeed in school, work, and life. CCSSO will provide Rapid Response support to state and national partners and CCSSO members on issues such as implementing Birth-3rd grade child and program quality standards, assessments, accountability, and program improvement initiatives.

CCSSO will partner with states to carry out technical assistance and will continue to participate in the Early Childhood Data Collaborative.

Tom Schultz, Program Director

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Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an education compact with commissioners comprised of governors, state legislators, K-12 and higher education department chiefs and other education leaders. They track state policy trends, translate academic research, provide unbiased advice, and create opportunities for state leaders to learn from one another. One way ECS does its work is through its 350+ member Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) which discusses the latest research and best practices in education policy.  

ECS will survey all LESN members to find out what early childhood education topics are most important to them, convene a group from 15 of the Alliance priority states in the fall of 2014 for a two-day academy focused on the issues highlighted in the survey results, and produce a policy brief focused on information and analysis of state policies on the early education topic that receives the most attention from staff.

The LESN is a joint and collaborative partnership between ECS and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NSCL).  ECS will draw on the Alliance TA Network to advise on the agenda planning and/or presenting at the meeting.

Bruce Atchison, Executive Director of Policy and Operations

Emily Workman

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The Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC)

The Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) supports state policymakers’ development and use of coordinated state early care and education (ECE) data systems to improve the quality of ECE programs and the workforce, increase access to high-quality ECE programs, and ultimately improve child outcomes. in partnership with experts in the field, ECDC will develop a new scoring rubric for linking early childhood data with K-12 data systems. This work includes tracking legislative actions, responsive technical assistance, coordination of federal data collection efforts; and collaborating with national partners to strengthen data use to inform policy.

Child Trends is the home of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, and will lead the work of this seven-member collaborative.  ECDC also works closely with the Pew Home Visiting Campaign and plans to develop new partnerships with the National Registry Alliance and Child Care Aware of America to identify polices and best practices for developing and using ECE workforce and program data systems to inform child care policy and continuous improvement plans.

Carlise King, Executive Director
Phone: (240) 223-9329

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Dane Linn

Dane Linn is a Vice President for the Business Roundtable. In this role, he oversees the Education and Workforce Committee, advancing the BRT’s positions on education reform, U.S. innovation capacity and workforce preparedness. Linn joins the BRT most recently from the College Board, where he served as Executive Director of state policy. Prior to joining the Collee Board, Linn served as Director of the Educational Division of the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best practices.  During his 16 years in this role, Linn represented governor’s’ education policy issues at the federal level and to state and local associations.  He also co-led the development of the Common Core State Standards.  Areas of expertise include: 

  • Common Core State Standards
  • Education policies
  • State Policy issues

Dane Linn

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NALEO Education Fund

The role of the NALEO Educational Fund is to be the principal convener of Latino policymakers across all levels of office. By doing so they educate and build the skills of their members so that they understand the various issues of education policy including early learning policy and that they have the knowledge, governance, and leadership skills necessary to champion an education agenda in their respective jurisdictions.

NALEO Educational Fund develops the skills set of Latino state legislators through intensive leadership training that follows a curriculum that presents current and relevant information, including research evidence and best practice-based policy options; offers unique networking opportunities with policymakers from all levels of government; and enables policymakers to build strategic partnerships with education leaders, state advocacy organizations, and national and state experts on early learning. In addition, NALEO Educational Fund incorporates an equity lens throughout the entirety of its curriculum to ensure policymakers are prepared to analyze and develop educational policies that address the cultural, linguistic, and racial needs of vulnerable young children. NALEO Educational Fund will empower Latino state legislators to become early learning policy “champions” by providing them with the content knowledge and governance skills they need to promote innovative and successful state policies that will improve learning outcomes for vulnerable young children. They will

  • Convene policymakers in Arizona, working with key Arizona policymakers and First Things First, the Children's Action Alliance, and CED
  • Document commitments made/actions taken by their members
  • Host a session and other engagement activities with lawmakers at the NALEO Annual Conference highlighting the importance of quality early childhood education including child care. Collaborate with Child Trends, National Center for Children in Poverty, and New America Foundation.
  • Communicate with members through their digital networks, such as social media and their website, to highlight early learning.
Rosita Ramirez

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National Academy for State Health Policy

National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is an independent academy of state health policymakers dedicated to helping states achieve excellence in health policy and practice. A non-profit and non-partisan organization, NASHP provides a forum for constructive work across branches and agencies of state government on critical health issues. They convene state leaders to solve problems and share solutions; conduct policy analyses and research; disseminate information on state policies and programs; and provide technical assistance to states.

NASHP supports active state-to-state exchange and collaborative learning by convening state officials working on issues that impact early child development via web, audio, and in-person meetings and through mechanisms such as workgroups and electronic discussion forums. They facilitate dialogue between, and serve as an information resource for, state and federal program administrators and policymakers, as well as advocates, researchers and other stakeholders. NASHP will focus on two activities to promote healthy child development: 

  • Research and knowledge to develop policy briefs exploring opportunities for cross-systems collaboration and financing to promote healthy child development on two of these topics: children's mental health, home visiting, developmental screening or care coordination.
  • Convene select Alliance state partners and state health policy makers including state officials from Medicaid or public health agencies, to discuss and explore opportunities to support young children’s health and development through health care reform. The meeting will focus on promising practices with specific examples such as early childhood mental health, screening and pediatric integrated care models emerging from State Innovation Model or similar activities. 
Carrie Hanlon

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National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children. NAEYC promotes high quality learning for all children ages birth through age 8 by connecting research, policy and practice.

Two NAEYC projects will advance a national policy agenda to support and advance a strong early childhood profession.

  1. Professional Development System Indicators tool. NAEYC will disseminate a set of indicators with complementary multimedia resources that examine state progress in 0-8 professional development system integration; quality assurances; workforce diversity, inclusion and access; and compensation parity.
  2. Defining the Early Childhood Education Profession. NAEYC will convene a national task force to establish a definition of the early childhood education profession. Input from NAEYC affiliates, advocacy organizations, educators, employers, and other stakeholders will also inform the consensus building process.
Alison Lutton
National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)

Since 1970, the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), has been a trusted partner for parents, policymakers and professionals responding to the unique strengths and needs of young Black children and their families. With the support of its partners and an Affiliate network in over 20 communities across the country, NBCDI provides education and advocacy that is focused on promoting policies that are strengths- based, culturally-relevant, and based on equity, excellence and effectiveness.

From Baltimore to Cleveland to Texas, this year has made plain the fierce need for systems that lift up Black children, families and communities. NBCDI will work to ensure that advocates and policymakers have the data, resources, leadership and support that they need. They will create a new Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor state- based report for Florida, and continue to build the capacity of their affiliates in the other states with state- based reports (WI, MI, IL, PA, WA, and CA). They will host a “Point of Proof” Institute that will be focused on connecting best practices in programming to related policy solutions. They will draw on the expertise of NCCP, CLASP, and Build to help them in their work.

Cameron Poles

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National Center for Children in Poverty

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a public policy center in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, is dedicated to promoting the economic security, health, and well-being of America’s low-income families and children. NCCP uses research and data to inform policy and practice. 

NCCP will focus on early childhood mental health and parent/family engagement. They will update the Early Childhood Policy profiles and the Young Child Risk Calculator. They will disseminate results of a 50-state Early Childhood Mental Health Medicaid survey in a report and webinar and provide technical assistance to promote investments in ECMH services in Maine and Virginia. They will help strengthen parent engagement policies in Georgia, California, and Oregon; and offer technical assistance in two additional states working to promote a two-generation policy agenda. NCCP will provide state-specific data on child wellbeing and related policies to NBCDI to share with their affiliates.

Sheila Smith

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National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)

The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, commonwealths, and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on state issues.

Through its Early Care and Education Project, the National Conference of State Legislatures provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas. NCSL will focus on providing education, engagement and outreach strategies to foster leadership among legislators interested in early care and education policy, and to promote effective policy ideas from best practices in state legislation, emerging ideas, new science, and ways to leverage federal funding to meet state goals. NCSL will:

  • Convene a fourth year of the Early Learning Fellows program, a model that has proven successful in building and supporting legislative leadership and moving early childhood policy.
  • Carry out a CCDBG Reauthorization project that includes outreach to legislators through a series of 2-3 focus groups, phone interviews, and a webinar, and other materials to help inform legislative action on child care.
  • Writing and research on early care and education topics, including 50-state legislative bill tracking and report and 1-2 policy briefs
  • Host a Chairs meeting with Education chairs and key Human Services chairs (pending internal approval).
  • Host a session at NCSL’s annual meeting (pending selection)
  • Carry out strategic communications to ensure early childhood maintains a high profile for legislators through e- newsletters, social media, and NCSL’s website
Robyn Lipkowitz

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National Governors Association

The National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices provides policy consultation and other technical assistance services to help governors and their advisors develop and improve state policies and strategies in different areas of state government. The early learning team in the Center's Education Division focuses on issues related to the learning and development of children from birth through third grade.

NGA will help governors and their policy staffs take a comprehensive approach to developing policies to improve children’s learning and growth from early childhood through third grade. They will:

  • Support governors in Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, and Rhode Island and their advisors to develop and pursue a policy agenda for early learning as part of their larger strategy for education reform. Additional states to be selected later in the year.
  • Provide continued policy support to state teams in California, Minnesota, and West Virginia on early math. Efforts will inform agency budget requests, governors’ policy agendas, legislative proposals for FY2016, or improvement efforts during the 2016-17 school year.
  • Advance early learning standards and other policies that support social and emotional development through technical assistance from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a two day expert roundtable, and development of a set of guiding principles.
  • Work across NGA Center divisions to help governors, their policy advisors and senior state leaders better understand the benefits of greater alignment and integration across early learning and human services, health systems, and workforce development policies and develop strategic action plans.
  • Organize two events, the first on Washington’s “One Science” initiative and the second highlighting strategies to grow and improve the early childhood workforce.
  • Deliver as-needed technical assistance to governors’ offices to help them lead efforts to build linkages across systems to improve results for young children.
Albert Wat

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National Women’s Law Center

The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) works to improve the lives of women and girls, with a focus on the needs of low-income women and their families. NWLC uses the law in all is forms: getting new laws passed and enforced, litigating groundbreaking cases all the way to the Supreme Court, and educating the public about ways to make the law and public policies work for women and their families.

NWLC will continue to provide strategic analyses and advice on state child care policy. They will: Produce and disseminate their annual state child care assistance policies report providing comparative data on child care eligibility, co-payments, provider reimbursement, and waiting lists; 
provide technical assistance to help state policy makers and advocates implement the new CCDBG law effectively, including understanding its opportunities and challenges; support state advocacy efforts through regular updates, conference calls, fact sheets and analyses, and state- specific assistance as requested, including on improving state child care tax credits;
hold a two-day retreat for national and state early childhood leaders to encourage peer-to-peer networking and information sharing.

Helen Blank

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New America 

New America is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the digital age through big ideas, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences. The mission of the Early Education Initiative, which is part of the Education Policy Program, is to advance policies and elevate dialogue to support high-quality learning environments for all children from birth through the third grade.

New America will continue to build partnerships to advance workforce policy and carry through the findings of New America's 50-state scan to support state efforts. They will:

  • Convene a study group and host one-on-one and small group meetings on the IOM Workforce report, particularly the Blueprint for Action to develop ideas for implementation and make key issues and recommendations more understandable for policymakers through resources such as mini-briefs, blog series, infographics, or articles.
  • Continue work from the FY 2015 grant to produce materials building from New America's 50-state scan and case study to help 3-5 interested Alliance partner states develop their agendas, identifying specific state policies that need to be rethought, and propose revisions.
  • Assist with messaging the State of the Child Care Workforce report by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) through blogs, social media and visuals and work with both CSCCE and partner with NAEYC to advance the recommendations in the IOM report.
Lisa Guernsey

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Ounce of Prevention Fund

The Ounce National Policy Team partners with and supports state early childhood leaders as they advance a comprehensive agenda for at-risk children and families.  The team will continue to offer individualized strategic and substantive policy consultation and resources; facilitate peer-to-peer networking across states; support Educare Schools and the Educare Learning Network in their policy and advocacy work; and provide timely policy analysis and thought leadership to address current and emerging policy opportunities and challenges in the field.

The Ounce will partner with state partners and the National TA Network as needed to support state efforts.  

Elliot Regenstein, Senior VP, Advocacy and Policy

Margie Wallen, Director of Policy Partnerships

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Ponder Early Childhood, Inc.

Karen Ponder is an independent consultant specializing in early childhood systems development, and the creation of public-private partnerships and local coalitions. The former president of the NC Partnership for Children, she helped create Smart Start and administered it for 15 years.  She has worked with 46 states, national organizations, and universities.

Karen will provide strategic guidance and support to the Alliance and its state partners.   States with specific requests include Mississippi, Oregon, New Mexico, and may include others.   Technical assistance may include: on site consultation; phone/email consultation, researching available information, small group facilitation, and speeches/presentations. Areas of expertise include:

  • Governance
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Business engagement and involvement
  • Working effectively with governors, legislators and other policy makers
  • Appropriate practice and policy in early childhood education
  • QRIS

Karen Ponder

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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (RIKC) is an independent, non-partisan children’s policy organization that works to improve the well-being of children in Rhode Island.  RIKC will continue to focus on advocacy on the birth through eight policy agenda and linking the early years with the early grades.  They will play a “bridging role” that helps to connect the Birth through 8-policy work of the Alliance to other birth through eight initiatives such as the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, the Kids Count Network, and federal children’s health and development initiatives.  

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (RIKC) is an independent, non-partisan children’s policy organization that works to improve the well-being of children in Rhode Island. RIKC is also a recognized as a national leader in state advocacy on a variety of early childhood policy issues. They will coordinate a newly formed Alliance state group focused on quality pre-k, including both expansion and quality improvement. RIKC will also continue to lead the Alliance sponsored State-Based Advocates for Early Learning group, with Ceil Advocates for Children of New Jersey. This group provides information to state-based advocates on federal early learning and development opportunities, and ensures state advocates have the opportunity to inform federal advocacy, policies, and programs. RIKC will also continue to serve in a "bridging role," connecting the work of the Alliance to other national early childhood initiatives.

At the state level, RIKC will lead advocacy in the state on a range of issues including: effective implementation of RTT-ELC, financing, maintaining and expanding access to pre-K, child care, preschool special education, Head Start, full-day K and other key early childhood policies (e.g. paid family leave, child welfare system reform, home visiting, developmental screening, etc.).

Elizabeth Burke Bryant

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Zero to Three

ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals, and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development. Their mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. The ZTT Policy Center is a nonpartisan, research-based resource for federal and state policymakers and advocates on the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers.

ZTT will support states in advancing policies, services, and systems to meet the needs of infants, toddlers, and their families. They will:

  • Develop a state self-assessment tool on early childhood mental health and provide technical assistance to Maine and Colorado on its use
  • Convene a learning community of public and private leaders in targeted states on home visiting
  • Revise their state infant-toddler self-assessment and develop a parent survey
  • Mobilize infant-toddler advocates through The Baby Monitor e-newsletter and action alerts, expand the Baby Matters database of state policy initiatives
  • Provide technical assistance to Wisconsin, Oregon, and Georgia
Barbara Gebhard

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