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.
Providing Developmental Screenings and Services in Rural Communities
Families in rural communities across the country face unique barriers to supporting their children’s developmental health and well-being. Here, learn how community coalitions in Alaska are connecting families to needed supports and services, so more rural children can start school ready to succeed.
Health Professionals Need to Talk to Families About Swaddling
Swaddling babies snuggly in a blanket mimics the confines of the womb and can comfort babies and promote sleep. However, when families don’t swaddle properly it has the potential to become risky and result in injury and possible death. By improving conversations with caregivers, health professionals can help reduce risks and support tired parents. Here, find four points to cover in your conversations.
It Takes a Community to Save Babies
By partnering with community programs and organizations, public health initiatives can give families opportunities to learn about safe sleep from trusted members of their community who share their lived experience. Here, find six strategies for engaging community partners, maintaining that partnership, and collaborating to raise awareness.
Fathers: Powerful Allies for Maternal and Child Health
Supporting father engagement and involvement is a critical opportunity to improve children’s health outcomes in the decades to come, says NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns. Here, he describes three strategies for supporting fathers as powerful allies in maternal and child health outcomes.
Improving Maternal and Child Health in the Face of the Opioid Epidemic
High rates of opioid use among pregnant women reflect an ongoing national epidemic. Here, two experts share why improving both short and long-term health outcomes starts by recognizing that this is a treatable chronic disease and providing comprehensive care for the mother-baby dyad.
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 email@example.com, 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
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.
NICHQ Names Elizabeth Coté Chief Health Officer
Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, joins NICHQ's executive team as Chief Health Officer on May 31. In this role, Coté will provide medical and public health leadership to NICHQ programs and advance the organization’s mission as a leader in children’s health. Coté is a Harvard-trained physician deeply rooted in service to under-resourced communities.
NICHQ Announces Communities for Kindergarten Readiness Initiative
NICHQ and child education outcomes leader StriveTogether today announced six communities will participate in their joint initiative. Called the StriveTogether Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network, the goal is to ensure kindergarten readiness for children by focusing on healthy beginnings, family support, quality care and excellent learning environments from infancy to age 3.
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.