State Partners

The Alliance works with states across the country to advance state policies in health, family support and learning. Alliance support includes: funding, technical assistance from national experts, and convenings to promote partnerships and the exchange of good ideas.

 

Alabama

Alabama Partnership for Children / Alabama School Readiness Alliance / Alabama Voices for Children 
Primary Contact: Gail Piggott / Allison Muhlendorf / Stephen Woerner

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) develops, designs, and implements a unified approach for improving outcomes of Alabama's children from birth to age five. They partner closely with the Alabama School Readiness Alliance and Alabama Voices for Children. APC is combining research, revision of educational materials, and multiple events with partners to ensure that high quality child care is identified as a priority. They are working to: 

1.    Ensure all child care programs are licensed and inspected by AL Department of Human Resources. 
2.    Update the 2019 Economic Impact Study of early childhood investments. 
3.    Identify and promote policy changes to support greater participation of child care programs in the QRIS and preK grant process. 
4.    Develop and promote policies to address the pay disparity of the child care workforce. 
5.    Host 3 regional summits on Early Childhood Investments/Quality Child Care with Regional Workforce Development Boards and other business/community leaders. 


Alaska 

Alaska Children's Trust  
Primary Contact: Trevor Storrs

Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) is focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. ACT influences public policy and -- as the home to Kids Count Alaska -- produces reliable data, makes policy recommendations, and provides tools needed to advance sound policies that benefit Alaska's children and families. ACT is developing and implementing a policy agenda that encompasses a cross-sector network of advocates. Activities include: 

1.    Strengthening the advocacy network through monthly network gatherings, weekly legislative briefings during session, coordinated advocacy events (i.e. Vote for Kid campaign during election season, legislative visit), and development of advocacy materials. 
2.    Hosting an advocacy summit with a focus on healthcare and early childhood education and a pre-summit meeting with pediatric healthcare providers. 
3.    Partnering with the Children’s Caucus to host an educational day for legislators focused on data and issues related to children and families, prior to the start of the 2020 legislative session. 


Arizona 

Children's Action Alliance 
Primary Contact: Kelley Murphy

Children's Action Alliance (CAA) seeks to influence policies and decisions affecting the lives of Arizona children and their families. Their work is aimed at a future where: all children have health insurance, a place to call home, enter school ready to learn and succeed, and no child is raised in poverty, hungry, or abused or neglected. CAA expects to see an increase in the number of child care providers who seek and successfully achieve national accreditation and/or those who are able to demonstrate a high level of quality through an alternative pathway that is aligned with the Arizona Birth to Five Program Standards. In order to accomplish this, they: 

1.    Work with the state child care office and First Things First to map out the location of accredited programs and determine where the gaps in service exist. 
2.    Ask providers to identify barriers to achieving accreditation or other quality standards. 
3.    Collaborate with Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) partners to consider if there are other doorways to measuring quality outside of the accreditation or current quality rating system called Quality First. 
4.    Compile and distribute a set of policy recommendations to enhance and increase the doorways to quality. 


Arkansas

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families 
Primary Contact: Rich Huddleston

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) works to ensure all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential. AACF's goals and activities will include: 

1.    Working with legislative leaders to establish an early learning caucus.
2.    Recruiting legislative champions and partners, including the governor's office, to improve compensation/benefits for early childhood workers, and education tax credits and retirement benefits for preK teachers outside of public schools.
3.    Serving as a resource to the state during the transition of the state preK program to the state education agency.
4.    Supporting a legislative interim study on compensation parity for preK teachers.
5.    Cultivating policymakers' support for early childhood mental health and paid family leave for the 2021 legislative session. 


ForwARd Arkansas 
Primary Contact: Cory Biggs

ForwARd Arkansas (ForwARd) is a public-private partnership of the Arkansas State Board of Education, the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. They work to increase equity, increase student achievement, and close the achievement gap. ForwARd will capitalize on momentum established during Arkansas's 2019 legislative session. This year they will:

1.    Enact a package of early childhood tax credits and work alongside Governor Asa Hutchinson's office to ensure that funding is built into his budget for the upcoming biennium.
2.    Work with legislative leaders to establish and support an early learning caucus.
3.    Work with the state board of education and state education agency (SEA) to ensure a successful transition of the preK program to the SEA. 


California

Advancement Project  
Primary Contact: JunHee Doh

Advancement Project (AP) works alongside community partners to transform public systems and shift investments to achieve racial equity. The Educational Equity Program uplifts educational opportunities for the children who need it the most, starting from birth to age five and continuing through high school. Policymakers in California, including the governor, have expressed interest in implementing a "whole child" strategy, through which policies, practices, and relationships help each child in every school and community, be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. AP will lead a campaign to support the development of an equitable "whole child" policy and financing strategies that will be incorporated into gubernatorial and legislative proposals. This project will engage both early education stakeholders and those from other sectors in research and data analysis, policy development, and advocacy in order to build a broader base of political support. 

Children Now
Primary Contact: Stacey Hae Lim Lee

Children Now (CN) serves as a hub for supporting and connecting thousands of groups in California to create an unprecedented power base for young children birth through age 26. CN employs research, policy, communications, and advocacy strategies to advance a range of children’s issues: early childhood, education reform, children’s health, foster care and juvenile justice. Children Now will focus on elevating the importance of quality in all early childhood policy efforts including: advocating for continued progress of early childhood stakeholder unity in the budget and legislative advocacy in 2020; providing technical assistance for the governor's office's and state education agency's early learning strategic planning efforts; ensuring plans and proposals prioritize the pathways to invest in and develop a higher quality workforce; and expanding efforts for early childhood data by aligning and improving the state’s data systems. 


Colorado

Clayton Early Learning / Colorado Children’s Campaign
Primary Contact: Christina Walker (Clayton) / Bill Jaeger (CCC)

Clayton Early Learning (Clayton) prepares young children for school through family-centered classrooms and home-based practices, research/program evaluation, and professional development. Clayton partners closely with the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Clayton will work with Colorado Children’s Campaign to educate the current administration and legislators in the following priority areas: 

1.    Increasing access to quality early care and learning.
2.    Advancing the growth of the early childhood workforce. 
3.    Ensuring all kids get a healthy start. 
4.    Engaging advocates and partners in advocacy. 
5.    Increasing the participation of impacted populations and leadership of grassroots organizations in policy and advocacy efforts. 

 
Connecticut   

Connecticut Association for Human Services 
Primary Contact: Elizabeth Fraser

The Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS) works to reduce poverty, promote equity, and build family economic success through outreach, education, and policy. They inform service providers and others to advocate for policy and practice changes that move low to moderate-income families toward prosperity including: reducing child poverty, increasing access to quality early care and education, and supporting two- generation strategies. CAHS is the state’s KIDS COUNT grantee. Together with the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance (CECA), they will implement a 2-prong policy strategy to address family economic mobility. CAHS plans to ameliorate the benefit cliff effect on programs such as Head Start, HUSKY (health insurance for children, pregnant women, and families), TANF, and SNAP. They will work to increase the minimum wage and eliminate barriers for adult learners by increasing access to affordable, high-quality child care. CAHS also does outreach to grassroots organizations and family serving programs, advocacy trainings for parents and providers, and provide opportunities for engagement via social media, letter writing, testimony at hearings, and in-person legislative meetings to amplify their voices as effective advocates.


Delaware

Rodel 
Primary Contact: Madeleine Bayard

Rodel partners with innovators to transform public education in Delaware. Despite the fact that the early years are the most important ones for a child’s brain development, Delaware invests between 4 and 10 times less in early learning than it does in K-12 education. Rodel is focusing on 3 areas: 
1.   Building an advocacy campaign and gaining legislative support for universal preK. 
2.   Advocating for policy change to link child care subsidies to the current market rate. 
3.   Advocating for a common statewide kindergarten registration process and deadline. 


District of Columbia

DC Action for Children 
Primary Contact: Kimberly Perry

DC Action for Children (DC Action) provides data-based analysis and policy leadership on critical issues facing children and youth in the District of Columbia. DC Action will continue work to embed supports for infants and toddlers in the District’s early childhood system by leveraging momentum on both the executive and legislative sides of local government. The Birth-to-Three for All DC legislation that passed in June 2018 established a comprehensive system of services for infants and toddlers. With this increased attention on issues affecting families with young children, DC Action will focus on promoting evidence-based home visiting programs as an essential component of a comprehensive early childhood system. 

Educare DC
Primary Contact: Pyper Davis

Educare DC leverages data, research, and knowledge of early learning to impact programs and policies. As a direct service provider, Educare DC is able to provide on-the-ground insight into how policies impact individual children and families. They use their voice and the power of the network of Educare schools to advocate for quality early care and education. Educare DC intends to hire a full-time dedicated advocacy director. This position will allow Educare to: engage more deeply as a leader and voice for quality through direct advocacy, participate in state early childhood associations and policy committees, and serve as an influential demonstration site (currently giving more than 75 tours each year). Where appropriate, the advocacy director will also leverage DC advocacy successes to inform and support federal advocacy work.

 

Florida

Children's Movement of Florida
Primary Contact: Vance Aloupis

The Children’s Movement of Florida is a non-partisan grassroots movement of Floridians insisting on increased investment in the first five years of life. They work to make Florida the best state in the nation for young children. The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions will work with Nemours to identify and test strategies for financing upstream prevention, children’s access to services and address social determinants of health. Partnerships between health care, early care and education (ECE) providers and Medicaid will be created to pilot a small-scale, community-based initiative with potential for scaling statewide. Nemours will work with states to develop cross-sector pilots, and provide knowledge of Medicaid authority to invest in health prevention. The project will build on existing Florida early childhood initiatives. A final project brief will be developed to share key learnings and policy solutions with early childhood advocates.


Georgia

Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students 
Primary Contact: Mindy Binderman

The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) is a statewide advocacy organization that focuses on bridging the gap between Georgia’s families, business community, and policy leaders as it promotes school readiness for young children. GEEARS works closely with state agencies including the Department of Public Health and Department of Early Learning to implement policy change; advocate for early learning in the Georgia General Assembly and engage civic leaders. In the coming year, GEEARS will focus on three things:  
1.   Hire a legislative consultant to track legislation, build relationships with legislators and potential partners, and ensure that they are well positioned to influence policy for Georgia's youngest children. 
2.   Partner with Nemours to better leverage Medicaid systems to support early childhood development. 
3.   Build grassroots capacity to strengthen relationships with families and providers around the state and build parent/family and provider capacity in advocating for quality and equitable early learning and healthy development. 


Hawaii

Hawaii Children's Action Network 
Primary Contact: Deb Zysman

Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN) is the leading children’s advocacy organization in the state. They build policy driven coalitions and mobilize family advocates around important issues such as childcare/preschool access, paid family leave and children's oral health. HCAN will facilitate community coalitions working to improve early childhood outcomes by: expanding the public preschool system so that all children enter kindergarten ready for school; developing a paid family leave policy that improves the financial stability of low income families; and improving childcare subsidies and reimbursements so that it provides meaningful support to families struggling to make ends meet. 

 

Idaho

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children 
Primary Contact: Beth Oppenheimer

Idaho AEYC is the leading advocate for state, local and federal investments in early childhood education. Idaho AEYC's network of parents, child care providers, early educators, and concerned citizens create an informed voice on what policies are needed to promote the goal of a sustainably funded, high-quality system of early education for all children.

 

Illinois

Ounce of Prevention Fund 
Primary Contact: Ireta Gasner

The Ounce of Prevention Fund gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for, and providing, the highest quality care and education from birth to age five. They promote healthy child development through three complementary approaches: creating and supporting direct programs; educating and coaching practitioners to provide more children with high-quality early education, and advocating for systemic change and significant investment.

 

Iowa

Child and Family Policy Center 
Primary Contact: Sheila Hansen

The Child and Family Policy (CPFC) is a research and advocacy organization that links research and policy on issues vital to children and families. They are a regular presence in the state capitol. CPFC evaluates health and child and family systems, conducts research to advance programs and policies, and provides technical assistance in policy development, research, and analysis.

 

Kansas

Kansas Action for Children 
Primary Contact: John Wilson

Kansas Action for Children (KAC) shapes health, education and economic policy on behalf of all children in Kansas. KAC prioritizes opportunities that contribute to mitigating, preventing or reducing childhood poverty for children from birth through age eight. KAC’s early childhood policy agenda includes improving access to anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, and child care assistance; and increasing public awareness about the importance of investing in the early years. This year KAC will focus on three policy priorities:
1.    Paid family leave.
2.    Infant and maternal health.
3.    Access to affordable, high-quality child care.


Kentucky

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Primary Contact: Brigitte Blom Ramsey

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence (Prichard Committee) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on informing the public and policymakers, studying priority issues, and engaging business leaders, families, students, and other citizens to demand educational excellence and equity from the earliest years through postsecondary education. The Prichard Committee will launch a campaign to strengthen bipartisan support for early learning during the 2019 gubernatorial campaign and into the 2020 budget session of the General Assembly. The Strong Start KY Campaign will focus on raising awareness of the early years of a child’s life for healthy brain development and overall well being. The campaign will include public forums and traditional, social, and new media communications. Polling will be used to inform the campaign, gubernatorial candidates, legislative candidates, and policymakers. 


Louisiana

Louisiana Policy Institute for Children 
Primary Contact: Libbie Sonnier-Netto

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) is a source of non-partisan, independent information on issues concerning children birth through four. They provide educational and outreach activities and develop policy proposals to put Louisiana’s youngest citizens on the path to success in school and in life. In the coming year, LPIC will: 
1.   Support the second year of the Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Commission by conducting research and developing recommendations on implementing LA B to 3 to increase access to health, development, and social emotional supports for children; and to establish the infrastructure for continued quality improvements and local leadership. 
2.   Maintain and/or increase public funding for high-quality ECE by growing public will. 
3.   Maintain, mobilize, and grow their stakeholder network by expanding the Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable and the Ready Louisiana coalition. 
4.   Sustain policy wins by engaging in outreach and education as the entire legislature, Governor, and state board of education are up for re-election in 2019, and then educating newly elected officials. 
5.   Partner with The Power Coalition to engage grassroots advocates, including child care staff and families. 


Maine

Maine Children's Alliance 
Primary Contact: Rita Furlow

The Maine Children's Alliance (MCA) provides non-partisan leadership by promoting and advocating for public policies that benefit Maine’s children. They collaborate with partners and provide policymakers with comprehensive data and information about the status and well-being of Maine’s children. MCA will:
1.    Closely monitor the development and implementation of a statewide early childhood consultation program and provide resources on social emotional learning and development. 
2.    Continue to support the Maine Legislature’s Children’s Caucus to improve the effectiveness of policies for children from ages birth to eight. 
3.    Educate and support members of the administration to identify high priority areas that could benefit from the focused attention of the revived Maine Children’s Cabinet. 
4.    Educate members of the new administration on the need to improve the child care subsidy program by streamlining the application process, updating background checks, utilizing contracts, and improving access to high quality infant care and at-risk children. 
5.    Work with key partners to educate policy makers and the public on the importance of improving EPSDT services. 


Maryland

Maryland Family Network 
Primary Contact: Clinton Macsherry

Maryland Family Network (MFN) is a voice in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. making sure that the needs of young children and their families are a priority with lawmakers. They administer the state’s network of Family Support Centers and Child Care Resource Centers. MFN will lead statewide advocacy efforts on 3 top-priority issues: 
1.    Passing the Kirwan Commission’s legislation reforming current public education policy and funding, including public preK.
2.    Re-introducing paid family leave legislation, allowing Maryland workers to take up to 12 weeks away from work with partial wage replacement to care for a new child, an ill or disabled family member, or themselves.
3.    Protecting funds dedicated to long overdue expansions of child care subsidy and child care tax credit programs. 


Massachusetts

Strategies for Children, Inc. 
Primary Contact: Amy O’Leary

Strategies for Children, Inc. (SFC) engages in policy advocacy, research, communications, and constituency building at both the local and state levels to ensure all children have access to high-quality early education, enter elementary schools ready to succeed, and are proficient readers by the end of third grade. SFC’s priority areas this year are: preschool expansion, workforce quality and compensation, and affordable child care. Through their Community Readiness initiative, they will activate early education leaders in 20 local communities, providing a professional learning community and advocacy support to advance state budget and legislative goals. They will also lead a state planning process focused on infants and toddlers, develop strategic partnerships to support dual language learners, address education equity policy, and work on Census 2020 “Count All Kids.” 


Michigan

Michigan's Children / Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
Primary Contact: Matt Gillard (MC) / Amy Zaagman (MCMCH)

Michigan’s Children (MC) works to ensure that public policies are in the best interest of children from cradle to career, with a focus on reducing disparities caused by economic hardship and structural barriers by race or ethnicity.  The Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health works with parents, communities and professionals to educate and inform policymakers on issues related to the health of babies, children, and their families. MC will focus on early learning policies, and partner with the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH) to work on issues related to infant and maternal health. Policy priorities are likely to include: increased funding and quality in early learning programs (preK and child care), expansion of home visiting programs, and a reduction in maternal and infant mortality. 


Minnesota

Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota / West Central Initiative / LaCroix-Dalluhn Consulting 
Primary Contact: Bharti Wahi (CDF-MN) / Nancy Jost (WCI) / Laura LaCroix-Dalluhn (L-DC)

Children's Defense Fund Minnesota (CDF-MN) works to ensure every child has a healthy, fair, safe, moral, and head start in life and a successful passage to adulthood. Their programs are based in advocacy, research, outreach and youth development to make a positive difference in the lives of Minnesota's children and families. In partnership with the West Central Initiative and LaCroix-Dalluhn Consulting, CDF-MN will lead the state’s Prenatal to Three Coalition. The Coalition has 2 goals: build public awareness about infant and child development prenatally through kindergarten, and increase public investments to ensure equitable access to services. CDF-MN will create a grassroots parent organizing and advocacy pipeline to expand their advocacy capacity.

 

Mississippi

Mississippi First 
Primary Contact: Rachel Canter
 
Mississippi First (MSF) works to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every child. They conduct research, and support advocacy and implementation efforts for the state preK program, including supporting the Mississippi Department of Education, funded preK programs, and applicant communities. This is the second year of the two-year Raise the Rate campaign to increase the preK per-pupil funding rate from $4,300 to $5,000. MSF is building the capacity of local preK providers and parents to share their stories with their representatives. They will also deepen the bench of legislative champions by directly engaging and educating new and old legislators and state officials. 


Missouri

Kids Win Missouri 
Primary Contact: Brian Schmidt

Kids Win Missouri (Kids Win) is a non-partisan, statewide coalition comprised of more than 100 members, representing child well-being, early childhood development, education, health, child safety and family economic security. Kids Win will work with stakeholders to expand access to voluntary, effective home visiting programs for new and expectant parents that model relationship building, engage parents in their child’s learning, and refer for additional supports as needed. They will collaborate with Aligned, a business leadership organization, to cultivate policymakers' support for the early childhood workforce, including improving compensation, working conditions and the professional development system. 


Montana

Zero to Five 
Primary Contact: Caitlin Jensen
 
Zero to Five works to develop and implement policy change through collaboration, research, advocacy, and community partnerships. They focus on giving families the tools they need to succeed, from pregnancy all the way to their child’s first day of school, and beyond. Zero to Five will work to educate and inform candidates for governor so they prioritize early childhood. They will develop policy platforms aimed to improve the lives of children and families in Montana. 


Nebraska

First Five Nebraska
Primary Contact: Becky Veak

The vision of First Five Nebraska (First Five) is that all Nebraska children begin kindergarten with the experience they need to become successful students and productive citizens. Working with state partners in the legislature and government agencies, they seek to create effective early childhood policies that promote accountable early childhood investments with impactful outcomes that eliminate the achievement gap for Nebraska’s youngest learners. First Five will:

1.    Make improvements in Nebraska's quality rating system.
2.    Align child care provider subsidy payments with the private market.
3.    Engage the business sector to impact local economic development policy.

In addition to their state advocacy work, First Five will support a learning collaborative of 6 states (Colorado, Maine, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma) to share challenges and develop solutions for high quality child care in rural settings. Through discussion and a state policy self-assessment process, advocates will develop agendas and materials to use in their 2020 legislative sessions. 


New Jersey

Advocates for Children of New Jersey 
Primary Contact: Ceil Zalkind

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) work for a future where all New Jersey children grow up healthy, safe, and educated. They educate, inform, and engage leaders and the public on children’s needs through research, data, and policy analysis. ACNJ will work to ensure adequate investments and program supports in 5 policy areas: preschool expansion, improving child care quality by addressing staff compensation, providing at-risk families in the child welfare system access to early care and education programs, improving infant and toddler health and well-being, and improving school attendance. 


New Mexico

Southwest Women's Law Center
Primary Contact: Terrelene Massey

The Southwest Women's Law Center (SWLC) seeks to harness the power of law, research, and creative collaborations to create greater opportunities for women and girls in New Mexico to fulfill their personal and economic potential. SWLC has been working for the last 3 years to advance a Paid Family Medical Leave bill to support children and their families in New Mexico. They will engage other key advocacy partners in the state including New Mexico Voices for Children and will:
1.    Convene and grow the New Mexico PFL Coalition.
2.    Increase support from business groups.
3.    Build partnerships with unions and organizing groups.
4.    Work with the Department of Workforce Solutions to address implementation concerns, such as infrastructure needs and associated costs.
5.    Create a communication plan to include social media, speaking engagements, and informational materials. 

    
New York

Center for Children's Initiatives 
Primary Contact: Betty Holcomb

The Center for Children’s Initiatives (CCI) works to assure every child in New York starts life with a foundation of health, care, and learning so they succeed in life. They focus on securing funding, resources and policies from prenatal to third grade. CCI partners with the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy and Advocates for Quality Education. CCI and its partners in the Ready for Kindergarten, Ready for College Campaign will continue to champion expansion of quality preK for all 3- and 4- year-olds as a critical building block of the state’s prenatal to age 8 early care and learning system. They will leverage strong policymaker and public interest in preK to advance child care, improved compensation for early childhood educators, and supports for all children including dual language learners. They will also embark on a new grassroots organizing effort engaging parents to build urgency and political will. 


Nevada

Children's Advocacy Alliance 
Primary Contact: Denise Tanata 

The Children's Advocacy Alliance (CAA) serves as the independent voice for Nevada's families and children. They bring people together to build consensus and leverage collective strength to achieve public policy in child safety, health and school readiness. CAA will focus on conducting research and outreach to build support for policy priorities for the 2021 Nevada State Legislative Session. Policy areas are expected to include early childhood education, health, and Medicaid. CAA will develop policy briefs and a comprehensive communications plan to engage a broad range of cross-sector grassroots advocates, as well as identify and engage champions to move these policies forward. 


New Hampshire

New Futures 
Primary Contact: Rebecca Woitkowski

New Futures (NF) collects and disseminates critical and reliable state-level data, makes policy recommendations, and provides tools for legislators, public officials, and advocates to advance positive policies for children and families in New Hampshire. They train partners to advocate for strong and proven policies for the future health and prosperity of New Hampshire's children. NF is the KIDS COUNT grantee in New Hampshire. They will focus on 4 priorities:
1.    Engaging new child serving partners in advocacy efforts.
2.    Supporting the implementation of New Hampshire’s 10-year Mental Health Plan. 
3.    Continuing efforts to advance policy priorities outlined by SPARK NH (the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council) in their 2016 Framework for Action report.
4.    Protecting policy successes from the 2019 legislative session. 


North Carolina

NC Child 
Primary Contact: Michelle Hughes

NC Child (NCC) advances effective, data-driven policy solutions for a strong start in life, healthy children, safe and nurturing homes and communities, family economic security, and high-quality education. They provide research and data analysis, educate policy makers, engage the community, do media engagement and strategic communications, and coordinate the Child Advocacy Network. NCC will improve young children’s health and developmental outcomes through 3 strategies:
1.    Strengthen the early childhood mental health system by leading the NC Initiative for Social-Emotional Readiness, beginning with the development of a statewide vision for a service pipeline in a managed care framework for children 0-5.
2.    Advance workforce rules/statutes that would increase access to children’s preventive oral health care.
3.    Advance and operationalize state policy to reduce children’s exposure to lead in the water of licensed child care centers. 


Ohio

Groundwork Ohio 
Primary Contact: Shannon Jones

Groundwork Ohio (Groundwork) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that advances quality early learning and development as the most transformative strategy to improve school outcomes, increase the life-long success of Ohio’s children, and lay a strong foundation for economic prosperity. Groundwork will advance Ohio’s quality early education workforce to ultimately ensure sustainable, high-quality care for young children by: applying an equity lens to understand workforce issues, educating policymakers on the issues facing Ohio’s early childhood workforce, creating greater awareness of the relationship between a quality early education workforce and quality care for kids, and advocating for workforce-specific policies and budget asks. They will analyze workforce data, do strategic communications and advocacy with policymakers and, mobilize early educators across the state. In order to most effectively expand their reach and strengthen their relationships with those most affected, Groundwork will work closely with the Ohio and Southwest Ohio Associations for the Education of Young Children, local early learning initiatives, local child care resource and referral organizations, and relationships with child care, preschool, home visiting and early childhood mental health providers. 


Oklahoma

Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness 
Primary Contact: Debra Andersen

Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR) seeks to provide better opportunities to the children and families in the state by engaging businesses and the public in supporting and investing in early childhood. They work to coordinate an early childhood system focused on strengthening families and school readiness for all children. OPSR will build an early childhood-focused grassroots advocacy network to bring the voices of rural Oklahomans into state-level decision making. They will form a community of practice with the community partners who helped craft Oklahoma's 5 year early childhood strategic plan. This group will identify a policy agenda they can all support for the 2020 legislative session. Policy priorities are likely to include: increasing the quality and capacity of rural family childhood care homes and increasing Medicaid enrollment for rural infants and their mothers. 


Oregon

Children's Institute 
Primary Contact: Dana Hepper

Children’s Institute (CI) promotes cost-effective public and private investments in young children birth through third grade. Their goal is to increase the number of Oregon’s children developmentally on track, arriving at kindergarten prepared for success and meeting third-grade benchmarks. They advocate for an education system that aligns and integrates early learning, family engagement and health with the primary grades. CI will continue to work with the Early Childhood Coalition, the governor’s office, and the Early Learning Division to implement and maintain the largest state investment in early care and education in Oregon’s history. Their policy agenda will include preK, child care, workforce, and other critical elements of a comprehensive early learning system. They will engage more grassroots stakeholders from rural communities and communities of color. 


Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children 
Primary Contact: Kari King

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) is a strong, effective, and trusted voice to improve the health, education, and well-being of the Commonwealth's children. PPC focuses on 4 core areas: child abuse and neglect, early learning, health, and K-12 education. PPC will continue to advance policies to: expand access to high-quality publicly funded preK, improve access to high-quality child care, and expand the number of families being served by evidence-based home visiting. PPC will focus on integrating early learning (child care and home visiting) and health (quality, coverage, maternal health) policy agendas. They will advocate for grandparents raising grandchildren and the need for a complete count in the 2020 census. 


Rhode Island

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
Primary Contact: Elizabeth Burke Bryant 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (RIKC) works to improve the health, safety, education, economic well being, and development of Rhode Island's children. They do this by providing independent, credible, comprehensive information, and by bringing individuals and organizations together to advocate for public policies and programs that improve children's lives. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (RIKC) will continue to co-lead our State and Federal Advocacy work. We are expanding this effort and Elizabeth Burke-Bryant is having conversations with the Alliance Leadership Team as to how the working group and national meeting may change this year. RIKC will also continue to lead the preK Advocacy Learning Community, where 14 peer states come together around improving access to high quality preK. In their state, RIKC will continue to coordinate the RI Early Learning Council, which focuses on expanding access to high-quality early learning programs, protecting/expanding paid family leave, advancing early childhood initiatives within the Medicaid managed care program, and expanding grassroots organizing efforts. Other policy priorities this year include: the infant/toddler workforce, child care licensing, and K-3 policy and practice.


South Carolina

South Carolina First Steps 
Primary Contact: Cassie Barber
 
South Carolina First Steps (First Steps) is the statewide initiative for school readiness. It is both a state agency and a nonprofit organization, with a network of 46 subsidiary nonprofit partnerships. These local partnerships leverage state funding to fill gaps in services, connect children and families to services, convene local stakeholders around the needs of young children, and support state school readiness priorities. The First Steps state office also administers the state’s mixed delivery, full-day 4K program. First Steps will focus its efforts on framing, messaging, and translating the federal Preschool Development Grant (PDG) recommendations so that they resonate with both grass tops (policy makers) and grass roots (parents, front line staff, community members) across the state. They will cultivate grass roots leaders who informed the PDG needs assessment with their experiences about the conditions of children 0-5 and the accessibility and quality of services available to them. First Steps will use these stories to customize messages and engage both state policy makers and local stakeholders as advocates for policy change. 


Tennessee

Tennesseans for Quality Early Education
Primary Contact: Mike Carpenter

Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE) works to advance high-quality early care and education through policy development and advocacy. They do this by leading a statewide coalition and promoting a robust policy agenda that reflects the importance of the birth through third grade continuum in preparing children for future academic success. TQEE will advocate for a gubernatorial child care taskforce and advance legislation to expand quality preK and evidence-based home visiting. They will develop and use research-based policy positions; support the new early learning caucus; sustain a robust communications campaign; expand their grass tops and grassroots coalitions; and mobilize supporters and amplifying their voices. 


Texas

Children at Risk
Primary Contact: Mandi Kimball

Children at Risk (C@R) serves as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for children through strategic research, public policy analysis, education, collaboration and advocacy. They are a leader in understanding the health, safety and economic indicators impacting children, and educating public policy makers about their importance in improving the lives of children. Based on the past year's research and stakeholder engagement, C@R has found that apprenticeships for early childhood educators (ECE) to be a strong and viable option for advancing the profession. They will promote this information and best practices with local- and state-level decision makers to cultivate their interest in and support for ECE apprenticeships. Through this process, they will identify potential policy changes needed in the 2021 legislative session that would support this strategy. 

Texans Care for Children  
Primary Contact: David Feigen

Texans Care for Children (Texans Care) is a statewide, non-partisan, multi-issue children's policy organization. They develop policy solutions, produce research, and engage community leaders to educate policymakers, the media, and the public about what works to improve the well-being of Texas children and families. During the interim session, Texans Care will focus on child care, early intervention, early childhood mental health, and dual language learners. They will support and monitor the implementation of full-day preK. 


Utah

United Way of Salt Lake 
Primary Contact: Kenny Shackelford

United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) provides backbone support and works through the Promise Partnership Regional Council, a cross sector partnership working to ensure every child in Utah has the opportunity to succeed in school and life. UWSL, the Promise Partner Regional Council, and Voices for Utah Children will work to close the achievement gap. They will do this by:
1.    Expanding access to optional extended-day Kindergarten.
2.    Increasing the quality of instruction provided in early childhood education.
3.    Identifying sustainable funding streams to support early childhood education. 


Vermont

Let's Grow Kids 
Primary Contact: Alyson Richards

Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) works to make immediate, tangible change by partnering with local communities to strengthen the existing early care and learning system. LGK also mobilizes Vermonters to demand policy change and increased public investment in high-quality child care to ensure that the system they are building together supports future generations. LGK’s policy priority is affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025. They are developing specific strategies this fall, taking into account the focus that has been on the state’s publicly-funded preK program. 

Voices for Vermont's Children 
Primary Contact: Amy Brady

Voices for Vermont's Children (VVC) conducts research and analysis on policy solutions to improve the lives of children and youth, and advocates for those changes in the legislature and beyond. Their efforts focus on addressing equity through systemic change rather than individual-level interventions. Having successfully completed 2 issue-based campaigns (paid sick days and dental therapy), Voices for Vermont’s Children will launch a sustained campaign to end child poverty in Vermont. This will involve advocating for individual policy initiatives: paid family leave, raising the minimum wage, giving the TANF cash assistance program a long overdue cost of living adjustment, and working to ensure that children have meaningful access to health care versus only coverage. 


Virginia

Virginia Early Childhood Foundation 
Primary Contact: Kathy Glazer

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) is a public-private partnership working to increase efficiencies, encourage innovation, and improve policies to advance the healthy development and school readiness of young children in Virginia. The Foundation acts as the backbone for a statewide network of Smart Beginnings partnerships that convene community leaders to build the capacity of local communities to create optimal environments for children's growth and development. VECF will work with the Early Childhood Business Alliance (grass tops partners at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce) and local Smart Beginnings initiatives (grass roots partners) to promote knowledge of and commitment to equitable early childhood development policy, program, and funding. VECF and Smart Beginnings partners will host small group meetings with incumbent legislators and candidates to educate them about the needs of young children and families so they and to make early childhood policy a priority. After the November election, VECF will host a one-day symposium for state legislators to build awareness, consensus, and urgency around changes needed to ensure that all Virginia children start kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed in school, the workforce, and life. 

Voices for Virginia's Children 
Primary Contact: Emily Griffey

Voices for Virginia’s Children is the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization. They are the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia. Using this data and independent policy research, they determine unmet needs and threats to child well-being, recommend sound policy solutions, provide objective input to policymakers, and educate and mobilize leaders and concerned citizens to support policy initiatives. Voices for Virginia’s Children has served as the neutral convener of Virginia’s Early Childhood Policy Network for the last 10 years. The network represents those that benefit from early childhood programs (parents, providers, and administrators). Voices for Virginia's Children will: 
1.    Develop an election toolkit for early childhood organizations wanting to host candidate forums or other candidate events; and provide technical assistance in the form of one-on-one meetings and phone calls, on-line and in-person training, and promoting and attending the events. 
2.    Develop talking points for advocates and business community partners to put in Op-Eds and to use during legislative visits/roundtables that support early education proposals put forth by the Governor or the legislature. 
3.    Identify, prepare, and mobilize advocates to share their stories and provide testimony for legislative hearings and during advocacy days. 

 

Washington

Children's Alliance 
Primary Contact: Allison Krutsinger

The Children’s Alliance (CA) is a multi-issue advocacy organization working in Washington to ensure that laws, policies and programs work for kids. Their overall goal is to promote positive early learning outcomes for children through effective policy advocacy, with specific emphasis on improvements for populations of children at risk of not being school- ready. They lead a coalition of 125 organizations across the state. This year CA will focus on preK access and quality, child care quality and affordability, and workforce compensation and career advancement. 

 

West Virginia

TEAM for West Virginia Children 
Primary Contact: Jim McKay
 
TEAM for West Virginia Children (TEAM) works with communities and families to advance the well-being of children, making their needs and healthy development a priority. Their mission is focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect and strengthening families’ protective factors. TEAM partners with an integrated network of programs to advocate for children, champions family-friendly communities, educate the public, and strengthen families. TEAM will implement a grassroots campaign urging lawmakers to increase appropriations to support expanded availability and quality of local home visiting programs. They will in partnership with the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy to research the costs and benefits and develop a specific plan work to pass paid family and medical leave legislation. 


Wisconsin 

Kids Forward 
Primary Contact: Ken Taylor

Kids Forward (KF) provides research, public education, and advocacy for the development and implementation of public policy that improves child and family well-being in health, economic security, safety, and education. KF works to ensure every child in Wisconsin can grow up in a just and nurturing family and community by focusing on early learning, health, and family support. KF will work to address disparities in access to high quality child care programs by engaging affected communities to propose revisions to Wisconsin’s QRIS standards to make it more culturally appropriate and racially equitable. KF will also focus on expanding outreach, enrollment, and retention, as well as reducing barriers to participation, in public benefits programs that provide essential support to families with young children, such as Medicaid, SNAP, and the EITC. 

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association  
Primary Contact: Ruth Schmidt

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) is the state affiliate of NAEYC, a founding member of the state Early Learning Coalition, and on the state Prenatal to 3 Coalition. The advocacy team engages in state level early childhood policy and budget work, including running advocacy campaigns and fully engaging their membership. They developed and maintain Forward for Kids - an advocacy network of early childhood educators and individuals who support WECA's work. WECA will engage a multi-sector coalition to advance strong policies and investments in early childhood education (ECE). WECA will work with Kids Forward to convene a grassroots cohort of 16 direct care providers. Their grassroots strategy also includes working with parents to help them share their experiences and hone advocacy skills so they can influence the policy agenda. 


Wyoming

Wyoming Kids First 
Primary Contact: Becca Steinhoff

Wyoming Kids First (WKF) leads a public-private partnership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies that affect children, families, and the early childhood workforce. Wyoming Kids First simultaneously works at the local and state level to advance a comprehensive vision for Wyoming’s youngest children. WKF will create a marketing campaign to increase public awareness about the importance of investing in Wyoming’s youngest children and to build support for their policy agenda. WKF will make recommendations to the Governor and state agencies by working through the Governor's Early Childhood State Advisory Council.