50-State Early Childhood Policy Progress and Landscape

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2023 Progress and Looking Ahead with the Alliance for Early Success

As the COVID caseloads declined and the masks came off, 2023 was a year for getting back to business. The question was whether we would return to old ways of thinking, and investing, and spending, or whether we would learn from the pandemic and respond accordingly. Most states were flush with strong revenues and remaining federal relief funds. What would they prioritize in their budget allocations? Would they (a) hold on to them for a future rainy day, (b) give them back as tax credits, or (c) invest in programs and systems that made their state stand out as a great place to raise a family?

The answer is: all of the above. 

The Alliance for Early Success’s 50 State Early Childhood Progress and Landscape Report highlights the state investments advocates and their in-state partners successfully pursued in 2023 to improve outcomes for young children and their families: from continuous coverage for children on Medicaid for the first six years of their lives, to universal, statewide paid family and medical leave, to historic increases in state funding for child care, to the creation and expansion of child tax credits that will dramatically reduce poverty in some states. And one state‚ÄďMinnesota‚ÄĒdid all of the above!¬† Also check out the Alliance’s state policy landscape webpages¬†for state-by-state details on what happened, including who is working at the state level to make it happen.¬†

Other resources to connect with what’s happening in your state:

  • ¬†Child Care Aware of America:¬†State Session Round Up: Summer 2023¬†summarizes noteworthy progress many states made progress on supporting child care access, affordability, and quality during their 2023 legislative sessions and as the federal relief funding deadline approached on September 30, 2023.
  • National Council of State Legislature (NCSL):¬†50 State Searchable Bill Tracking Database, Find the most comprehensive and complete 50-state information in NCSL’s searchable bill tracking databases, including databases on Early Childhood, Child Welfare, Ballot Initiatives, and more. Updated weekly, searchable by subtopics, year, status (e.g., pending, enacted, to governor, etc.) and keywords.¬†¬†NCSL also tracks states with¬†Citizens Initiatives and Popular Referendums,¬†two forms of direct democracy. Searchable by state.
  • Bipartisan Policy Center:¬†50-state analysis of child welfare legislation¬†summarizes state legislation on a range of child welfare topics that are relevant to the health and well-being of young children who are at risk of child maltreatment and/or already involved in child welfare.
  • The Children’s Funding Project:¬†Voter Approved Children‚Äôs Funds, provides an interactive map and resources on voter-approved local public revenue that is dedicated to children‚Äôs services outside of the K-12 school day in an election by the voters.

See also ECFC’s January 2024 Member Huddle on state legislative sessions.

Photo credit: Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

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