Small Child

Early Childhood Development

Child Trends researchers study young children from birth through early elementary school with a focus on understanding how the experiences children have across different settings can promote their optimal development and well-being. Our research experts work with the federal government, states and foundation partners to evaluate state policy initiatives such as Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), kindergarten readiness assessments, professional development initiatives for the early childhood workforce, and strategies to promote access and affordability of high quality early care and education. Child Trends’ early childhood team has produced nationally-recognized resources and research on school readiness, early care and education quality measurement, implementation science, family engagement, and coaching and consultation in early childhood settings. Child Trends contributes to the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC), which provides tools and resources to encourage state policy change and provides a national forum to support the development and use of coordinated state ECE data systems.

Featured Publications

2013 State of States' Early Childhood Data Systems

Feb 2014 | Early Childhood Data Collaborative

The 2013 State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems, released by the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, is based on a survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia, assessing the coordination of their early childhood data systems. The survey was completed by state education, health, and social services program staff and focused on states’ capacity to securely link child-level ECE data, collect state-level child screening and assessment data, and use of coordinated ECE data.

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The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States

Nov 2013 | David Murphey; P. Mae Cooper; Nicole Forry

This report, commissioned by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, focuses on infants and toddlers, their parents, communities, and the resources that exist to support them. This generation is more diverse than any in recent history, yet it is characterized by multiple inequities.

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The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework

Oct 2013 | Kathryn Tout; Tamara Halle; Sarah Daily; Ladia Albertson-Junkans; Shannon Moodie

This report is a compendium to the framework that emphasizes three important messages: 1) there is an evidence base for the policy areas and policy foundations identified in the Birth through Eight State Policy Framework; 2) the years starting at birth and continuing through age eight are a critical time for achieving good health, strong families, and better learning outcomes in early childhood and later in life; and 3) the supports and experiences that children receive have a cumulative effect—each experience influences the next and sustains previous growth and development.

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Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families

Jul 2013 | David Murphey

When a parent goes to war, families are deeply affected. Young children may be especially vulnerable to adverse outcomes, because of their emotional dependence on adults and their developing brains’ susceptibility to high levels of stress. Nearly half-a-million children younger than six have an active-duty parent—and some have two.

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