Transforming Early Childhood Systems
The first few years of life set the stage for a child’s future. Experiences during early childhood (prenatal to kindergarten) inform social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as overall health, determining early in life whether a child is set up to reach his or her optimal health.
Knowing the great impact investments and interventions can have at this critical stage of development, NICHQ is working through various projects and partnerships, to mobilize diverse sectors—including families, communities and policymakers—to transform early childhood systems to ultimately improve health outcomes for young children nationwide.
Keep scrolling, or use these quick links, to learn more.
Social Determinants of Health
Children's health during their early years often depends on the circumstances in which they are born. Access to good schools, housing, food, community supports - all of these determinants affect children's health and development. Learn more about how social determinants of health affect health equity.
When families struggle because of environmental circumstances, such as their job, community or economic status, children's health also suffers. A two-generation approach acknowledges that parent and child health are intertwined and seeks to address the needs of the family holistically. NICHQ's CEO discusses how here. Or, watch this video that explains why two-generation approaches can have a big impact on early childhood outcomes.
Children should have three developmental screenings before they reach their third birthday.These screenings assess whether children are meeting their developmental milestones, prompt proactive interventions and help all children start school ready to succeed. Find out more in this webinar, or read about one state's developmental screening journey.
Supports for Parents and Caregivers:
Parents lay the groundwork for their children's future. That's why we're invested in helping families understand how important early childhood development is, what resources they can tap, and what actions they can take. Learn more about a powerful state system that empowers parents, or read an article about how to launch an early childhood parent academy in your community.
Join Our Virtual Community
The Collaboratory is a virtual place where ECCS CoIIN participants and stakeholders can share ideas and best practices, ask questions, and uncover useful tips to advance their change efforts. With an "all teach, all learn" and "steal shamelessly" philosophy, NICHQ is opening up the Collaboratory to anyone working to enhance early childhood systems.
Already a member? Log-in here.
Want to join? Fill out this form to request access.
Children’s Health Policy Update: Fall 2019
As 2019 draws to a close, we’re sharing an update on policies and public programs that impact children’s health outcomes. We’ve included breastfeeding legislation passed over the summer, important legislation to watch in the coming months, and insights on vital public programs and funding needs for fiscal year 2020.
How Co-Created Goals Support Social Emotional Development
Social emotional development, which begins in infancy, helps children learn to understand their emotions and sustain positive relationships with others. When pediatric providers partner with families to co-create goals to support their children’s social emotional development, in the same way they do to promote children’s overall health and wellness, children thrive.
National Action Teams Promote Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Across the Country
Over the past decade, improvements in sleep-related infant deaths have stagnated. Now, four national action teams are working together to drive measurable change in four priority areas: Aligning National, State and Local Efforts; Promoting Conversation Modules; Supporting Early Child Care and Education; and Public Media and Media Relations.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Sandra Widland
In honor or our 20th anniversary, we're sharing insights, memories and goals from the NICHQ team. Here, NICHQ Associate Project Director Sandra Windland shares how her love for sports and interest in Kinesiology sparked her passion for public health.
Strengthening the Developmental Screening Process
Two counties in southeast Kansas are streamlining early childhood systems to ensure effective developmental screenings and referrals to supportive services to improve children’s developmental health outcomes.
Breastfeeding Takes a Village and, Too Often, Black Women Don’t Have One
Breastfeeding peer support networks run for and by Black women fill a gap in breastfeeding support for Black women—a gap largely created by historic and systemic inequities. Here, Khadija Garrison Adams, co-founder of Black Lactation Circle (BLaC) of Central Ohio, shares how their community is empowering black pregnant and nursing mothers to meet their breastfeeding goals.
Partners in Collaboration
To transform early childhood systems—as opposed to implementing individual interventions—requires collaboration from a host of traditional and nontraditional partners. Below are organizations we are proud to call our partners in this important work. Click the links below to learn more about each organization's work in early childhood. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the form below, to learn how you can get involved.
- Applied Engineering Management Corporation
- Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
- Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Children’s Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement
- J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
- National Institutes of Health
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation Parenting Through Pediatrics Fund
- ZERO to THREE
New Initiative Spreads a Potential Innovation for Improving Sickle Cell Disease Outcomes
NICHQ's new initiative, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), aims to disseminate research findings that can help more children and adults with sickle cell disease receive needed clinical care.
NICHQ and the National Healthy Start Association Partner to Provide Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Assistance to Healthy Start Grant Recipients
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) are proud to announce that they have been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to lead the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project.
NICHQ Announces Exploration of Preterm Birth Rates
NICHQ is honored to announce a new initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that seeks to better understand how state-level systems change may help lower preterm birth rates.
New Project Seeks to Enhance Early Childhood Improvement Efforts
A new project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and co-led by NICHQ and Child Trends, will identify barriers and opportunities for improving early childhood outcomes and promoting health equity.
NICHQ Selected to Manage Content for National Newborn Screening Website
NICHQ is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration to manage all content for a new comprehensive web-based clearinghouse.
NICHQ to Lead National Sickle Cell Disease Collaborative
The Health Resources and Service Administration has selected NICHQ as the National Coordinating Center for the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Regional Collaborative Program. In this role, NICHQ will leverage its experience with chronic disease management and data-driven quality improvement methodology to support and coordinate the activities of five regional coordinating centers (RCCs) seeking to improve sickle cell disease care.
Partner With Us
Are you interested in using these changes ideas to improve children’s health in a population, state or healthcare setting? Contact to NICHQ to discuss:
- Opportunities to identify partners and strategies to get partner buy-in
- Tools used to track data and enhance collaboration
- Training on consistent messaging and counseling
From supporting individual organizations to national programs, NICHQ’s vast change management experience helps us customize the best solution for you.