Building Comprehensive Early Childhood Systems
To increase the effectiveness of early childhood services, States and communities should strive to build a comprehensive system with an array of services that links young children and their families to the support they need. Use the following resources to learn more about developing an effective and comprehensive early childhood system, including State and local examples.
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
Strengthens service systems to ensure that children with disabilities (birth through 5 years) and their families receive and benefit from high-quality, culturally appropriate, and family-centered supports and services.
The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Supports States and communities in their efforts to integrate early childhood service systems and offers links to State plans for building a comprehensive system for young children.
National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center
Provides comprehensive child care information resources to key stakeholders in States, territories, and Tribes; early care and school-age professionals; and the general public.
Early Childhood Funders Collaborative
Helps States construct a coordinated system of programs, policies, and services that responds to the needs of young children and their families.
Building Comprehensive State Systems for Vulnerable Babies: A Resource for State Leaders (PDF - 249 KB)
Helps State leaders strategize how to create or improve early childhood systems to meet the needs of vulnerable babies and toddlers, their families, and pregnant women.
Building Ready States: A Governor's Guide to Supporting a Comprehensive, High-Quality Early Childhood State System (PDF - 1967 KB)
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (2010)
Describes the goals of a comprehensive system, highlights common early childhood care and education programs, and recommends six actions governors can take to support the development of an effective system.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8: A Position Statement (PDF - 325 KB)
National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009)
Describes the current context in which early childhood programs operate, defines developmentally appropriate practice, presents decision-making guidelines, and makes policy recommendations.
Embedding Home Visitation Programs Within a System of Early Childhood Services (PDF - 302 KB)
Explores opportunities to extend high-quality programs to more children and families and highlights the importance of continuous program development and improvement.
Improving Supports for Parents of Young Children: State-Level Initiatives (PDF - 554 KB)
Higgins, Stagman, & Smith (2010)
Highlights four States' efforts to improve parent support systems, presents questions to guide program decisions regarding how to address families' needs, and recommends State-level strategies for enhancing parent supports that reflect current research and other States' experiences.
Making Kids Count: Building a Comprehensive National Early Childhood Data and Measurement System for the 21st Century - Executive Summary (PDF - 3739 KB)
UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities (2010)
Discusses the importance of measuring early childhood outcomes and proposes key design principles for a national early childhood data and measurement system developed by the Federal government in collaboration with State and local governments and early childhood service providers.
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) Technical Assistance Model for Long-Term Systems Change (PDF - 789 KB)
Kahn, Hurth, Diefendorf, Kasprzak, Lucas, & Ringwalt (2009)
Outlines the critical characteristics and components of State systems change plans that are needed to improve practices in early intervention programs and special education services systems and ultimately improve outcomes for the children and families they serve.
National Survey of Early Care and Education
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Describes a project gathering national data on utilization and availability of early care and education (including school-age care) and examining the extent to which familiesâ€™ needs and preferences coordinate with providersâ€™ offerings and constraints.
The Next Step in Systems-Building: Early Childhood Advisory Councils and Federal Efforts to Promote Policy Alignment in Early Childhood
Summarizes States' progress creating an Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and developing a coordinated system of early childhood education and care. The report also reviews Federal initiatives that play a role in fostering collaboration and offers recommendations to ensure the success of the ECACs.
National Center for Children in Poverty
Promotes improved early childhood policies and practices by helping States strengthen and expand their early childhood systems. Resources include the virtual policy-sharing network and summaries of State early childhood activities.
State Issues and Innovations in Creating Integrated Early Learning and Development Systems A Follow-Up to Early Childhood 2010: Innovations for the Next Generation (PDF - 1741 KB)
U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011)
Presents six common, interrelated themes that emerged during the State team discussions at Early Childhood 2010, and provides descriptions of approaches, and links to program websites, policies, and other relevant documents.
Thirst to Learn Dialogue Paper: Building an Early Childhood Development System for America's Future (PDF - 217 KB)
Smart Start National Technical Assistance Center, Build Initiative, & Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education (2009)
Highlights exemplary practices in early childhood systems and community building and addresses how stakeholders can establish peer support and mutual assistance networks and encourage leadership opportunities for parents to support young children's development.
Tracking Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Look at Federal Early Childhood Programs and the Roles of State and Local Governments (PDF - 199 KB)
ZERO TO THREE (2009)
Summarizes primary Federal programs that focus on very young children and the roles of Federal, State, and local governments in those programs. Categories addressed include child care and early childhood education, child welfare, health and mental health, poverty, and professional development.
State and local examples
State Early Care and Education Budget Actions FY 2007 and FY 2008
National Conference of State Legislatures (2008)
Summarizes State funding for early childhood programs in child care, prekindergarten, parent education/home visiting, and other early-learning strategies.
State Strategies for Care Coordination, Case Management, and Linkages for Young Children: A Scan of State Medicaid, Title V, and Part C Agencies (PDF - 394 KB)
National Academy for State Health Policy (2009)
Describes State models to inform policymakers of resources and tools available to promote healthy development for young children and provide States with strategies to coordinate resources more effectively and achieve better outcomes for children.
Using Data to Build Comprehensive Systems for Infants and Families: Facilitator Guide (PDF - 1780 KB)
Bohn, De Masi, Perkins, & Efinger (2009)
Reviews the components of comprehensive early childhood service systems and helps New York professionals assess their current systems and develop data-based advocacy efforts. Also see the Resource Guide. (PDF - 4100 KB)