Advancing State Policies for Infants and Toddlers: Lessons Learned from Three States
Over the last several decades, state policymakers have expanded access to high-quality programs for young children, including pre-kindergarten programs, but have not typically focused on the unique needs of infants, toddlers, and their families. ZERO TO THREE’s new brief, Advancing State Policies for Infants and Toddlers: Lessons Learned From Three States, describes the experiences of three states (Indiana, Oregon, and Vermont) working to develop and take action toward cross-sector infant-toddler policy priorities.
Although the specific priorities that Indiana, Oregon, and Vermont pursued to improve outcomes for infants and toddlers were unique to their own contexts, their experiences illustrate shared drivers of success:
- Engage stakeholders representing a range of programs serving young children;
- Build consensus on infant-toddler policy priorities;
- Elevate infant-toddler issues with policymakers and the public; and
- Establish systems to sustain focus on infants and toddlers over time.
This paper describes how use of these strategies enabled Indiana, Oregon, and Vermont to elevate infant-toddler issues within broader early childhood initiatives, strengthen collaboration across systems, expand the base of stakeholders championing infant-toddler priorities, and develop a more unified voice for babies. It also offers recommendations for other states looking to engage in similar processes.