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May 2017Vol. 18, No. 3Supporting Early Childhood Initiatives

A new report from Child Trends highlights successful community-based initiatives to support early, healthy childhood development and elements needed to cultivate them. The report stems from a 2016 national symposium on investing in early childhood supports and explores innovative and varied initiatives underway in three diverse communities: Tulsa, OK; Durham, NC; and the State of Oregon.

  • Tulsa, OK, was selected because of its use of the Educare program, a public-private cross-sector collaborative effort that supports infants and young children, ages 6 weeks through 4 years, and their families through coordinated health, parenting, educational, and related services.
  • Durham, NC, was featured because of its place-based neighborhood initiative that spans a 120-block area and seeks to ensure all participating children graduate from high school and are prepared for college or a career. The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) operated as both program coordinator and a service provider. It coordinated with over 40 partners to provide a continuum of early childhood-related services. Services provided by EDCI included a universal home visiting program and a half-day bilingual preschool program for children who would otherwise lack access to any formal preschool experience prior to entering kindergarten.
  • Oregon was chosen as the third community to demonstrate the role a State government can take in supporting community-based early childhood initiatives. The State's regionally based Early Learning Hubs were designed to bring multiple community partners together to ensure school readiness for young children.

The February 2017 report features lessons learned from the various approaches and recommendations for establishing similar early childhood initiatives. It also highlights cross-cutting themes for successful community-based efforts, including the following:

  • Use of data to measure progress toward goals and evaluate outcomes
  • Broader supports and services at the county, city, or State level
  • Meeting community needs
  • Intentional and ongoing support
  • Evidence-based programs, innovation, and cross-sector collaboration

The report, Building Our Future: Supporting Community-Based Early Childhood Initiatives, was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation and is available at (1,070 KB).