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.
Best Practices in Data Governance and Management for Early Care and Education: Supporting Effective Quality Rating and Improvement Systems
Weber & Iruka (2014)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation
Illustrates the need for and benefits of building strong early care and education data governance structures and implementing systemwide data management policies and practices, exemplified by Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). Describes existing QRIS data systems, the common challenges to data coordination and integrity in these data systems, and provides guidance on best practices related to data governance and the development of integrated data systems that can support QRIS implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
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
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.
Early Childhood State Advisory Councils: Status Report April 2013 (PDF - 11,540 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2013)
Discusses the status of the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care grant program that enables States to lead the development and enhancement of high-quality, comprehensive early childhood systems that optimize childhood service delivery so that children can succeed in school.
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Applying Central Tenets Across Diverse Practice Settings
Ash, Mackrain, & Johnston (2013)
Zero to Three, 33(5)
Illustrates how front-line staff capacity can recognize, interpret, and support young children's and family’s social, emotional and behavior health care needs in early care and educational setting, a domestic violence shelter, any pediatric primary care utilizing early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC).
A Framework for Choosing a State-Level Early Childhood Governance System (PDF - 574 KB)
Regenstein & Lipper (2013)
Provides State policy leaders with a framework to consider and assess early childhood governance options that examine current State practices for oversight of policies and programs related to children from birth to age five.
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.
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 families needs and preferences coordinate with providers offerings and constraints.
Practices for Promoting Young Children's Learning in QRIS Standards
Smith, Robbins, Stagman, & Kreader (2012)
National Center for Children in Poverty
Builds on a recent analysis that found that only about half of statewide Quality Rating Improvement Systems(QRIS) refer to the State's Early Learning Guidelines (ELGs), most often in standards that require staff training in how to implement ELGs or the use of a curriculum or learning activities aligned with ELGs. This brief provides a further examination of the strength of supports for children’s early learning in QRIS standards.
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.
Putting the Pieces Together for Infants and Toddlers: Comprehensive, Coordinated Systems (PDF - 300 KB)
Gebhard & Oser (2012)
Zero to Three
Examines the need for comprehensive, coordinated, well-funded systems of high-quality, prenatal-to-age-5 early childhood services that foster success in school and life. A review of system functions and policy recommendations are included.
Sustaining Comprehensive Early Childhood Systems Building: An ECCS Evaluation Results Brief (PDF - 494 KB)
Altarum Institute (2011)
Examines the successes of the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative by conducting interviews with representatives from each of the 52 grantee organizations. The brief also makes recommendations for future discussions about the investment of resources in comprehensive systems building.
United Way of Connecticut (2017)
Outlines the partnership and collaboration between the United Way of Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to create an early childhood comprehensive system.
Early Childhood Systems Working Group
BUILD Initiative (2017)
Shows the focus areas, funding, and early childhood comprehensive systems of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington.
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 - 1,780 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.