2024 EdTech Breakthrough Overall ECE Solution of the Year Winner

Revolutionizing child care solutions with award-winning innovative technology.

All articles

Child Trends and Start Early Announce Partnership to Embrace Families at the Heart of Early Childhood Systems

byCharles HollowayonMay 30, 2023

Start Early and Child Trends, two organizations deeply committed to children's well-being, have announced a strategic partnership with the goal of understanding and building more equitable early childhood systems. Start Early, originally founded in 1982 as the Ounce of Prevention Fund, has been a pioneer in advocating for quality early childhood care and education. Child Trends, meanwhile, is a renowned research organization focused on improving the lives of children and youth.

Their joint initiative, titled "Conversation Starters," focuses on creating an early childhood system centered around the families' experiences. The goal is to not just define the framework of these systems, but to truly understand the family's needs, preferences, and barriers they face in accessing the services.

In the first brief in the "Conversation Starters" series, titled "Defining a Family-Centric Early Childhood System," authors Maia Connors and Katherine Paschall highlight how the success of an early childhood system should be evaluated based on families’ experiences. They propose a framework for defining a family-centric system, where system builders and families collaboratively identify what it means for their system to be "family-centric." The proposed framework is one where families experience seamless availability of preferred programs and services, holistic health and culturally affirming supports, and opportunities to co-design and influence the system.

However, creating a system centered on families' experiences is not without challenges. The authors discuss the lack of appropriate data infrastructure to gather and understand families' experiences fully. The persistent underfunding of early childhood systems, leading to unavoidable choices that sometimes create more barriers than solutions, also poses a significant challenge. Further, the need for a more integrated infrastructure to provide a coordinated system was underscored as essential for creating a family-centric system.

Learn how the nation's highest quality Pre-K program leverages BridgeCare's integrated data system

Moving forward, they argue that the focus should be on building data infrastructure, engaging families meaningfully in the system's leadership and governance, and identifying levers of improvement to make systems more family-centric.

In summary, the partnership of Start Early and Child Trends exemplifies an innovative approach towards creating more equitable early childhood systems. By prioritizing families' experiences in defining success, they're paving the way towards a more inclusive and supportive environment for the growth and development of children. Their Conversation Starters series is a promising initiative towards achieving this goal.


Stay up to date with Child Care Matters™

Stay current about new features, industry news, and ideas to inspire innovation in the ECE system.

Unsubscribe whenever you want.

We collect cookies to help improve your experience.

To see what information we collect, read our Privacy Policy.