Early Childhood

The first five years of life are a critical period of development that sets the stage for lifelong health and learning. While these early years are a time during which young children are particularly vulnerable to scarcity and instability, they also represent a key opportunity for proactively strengthening child and family well-being. Having access to high-quality, affordable child care with wraparound supports, for instance, has been linked to long-term improvements in health, learning, and economic stability, particularly for children from low-income families. Some policies and programs have been successful in reducing child poverty over time, but broader policy decisions and long-standing underinvestment have largely failed to account for the needs of young children and their families. Systemic inequities in access to basic needs—such as housing, food, healthy environments, and financial security—disproportionately affect marginalized and low-income communities, exacerbating disparities that have lasting, intergenerational consequences.

Investing in our nation’s early childhood system represents an investment in our families, communities, and economy. Proactive, holistic policies are necessary to ensure that all children have access to healthy, safe, and supportive environments in which to grow and thrive.


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Related Priorities

Building an Economy for All

Building an Economy for All

Economic growth must be built on the foundation of a strong and secure middle class so that all Americans benefit from growth.

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