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Early Childhood Systems Collective Impact Project: Federal Recommendations to Improve Alignment, Coordination, and Equity across Early Childhood Programs

Publication Date
Gretchen Kirby, Ellen Litkowski, Louisa Tarullo, Steve Cohen, Jill Spielfogel, Sonia Alves, Charlyn Harper Browne, Erica Lee, and Lizabeth Malone

The Early Childhood Systems Collective Impact Project (ECS Collective Impact Project) will help to re-envision a truly coordinated approach to program implementation designed to advance equitable early childhood and family well-being outcomes across federal programs that support expectant parents, children ages 0 to 8, and their families. This project will develop recommendations to improve – and tools to support – alignment, coordination, and equity across five key program elements: program eligibility, needs assessments, outcomes and performance measures, well-being goals and metrics, and equity goals and actions.

This document presents 10 interrelated recommendations for achieving equitable early childhood and family well-being outcomes through creation of a coordinated, comprehensive early childhood system. The 10 recommendations are organized into four overarching themes: 1) build a foundation for interagency coordination, 2) align and coordinate key program elements, 3) involve and empower the voices and perspectives of families and care providers, and 4) provide leadership for comprehensive, integrated data and research. Each recommendation has a series of corresponding federal actions to achieve a re-envisioned early childhood system that can build on the strengths and meet the needs of young children and families.

States, tribes, localities, and grant recipients are doing exemplary work to align and coordinate programs within the current context. These recommendations aim to guide the federal government to take additional valuable steps to fully realize a comprehensive, coordinated, aligned, and equitable early childhood system.