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 promote optimal development and well-being. Our team works with the federal government, state agencies, communities, and foundations on research, evaluation, and policy projects that address important issues for policymakers, practitioners, and families. We are skilled at developing resources and reports that address complex topics in easy-to-understand terms. We are strong thought partners in addressing a range of early childhood issues.

Much of our work fits into five broad categories.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

Elevating Quality Rating and Improvement System Communications: How to Improve Outreach to and Engagement with Providers, Parents, Policymakers, and the Public

Jul 2015 | Frank Walter; Alicia Torres; August Aldebot-Green

Thirty-nine states have adopted quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) to rate and support child care and education providers and centers serving children birth to age five. Communications plays a critical role in engaging providers, parents, partners, policymakers, and the public in QRIS. From Child Trends’ communications team, this report provides examples of what some states are doing to market their QRIS, and recommendations for other states.

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California's Infants and Toddlers: Future Promise, or Missed Opportunities?

May 2015 | David Murphey; Mae Cooper

In 2050, the generation who are now California’s babies and toddlers will be leading the Golden State. This demographic profile of Californians ages zero through two highlights child care enrollment and subsidies.

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Wisconsin's Infants and Toddlers

Apr 2015 | David Murphey; Mae Cooper

To help states target policies related to infants and toddlers, the Alliance for Early Success has funded Child Trends to create several state profiles. Wisconsin's infants and toddlers number more than 200,000. Here are some ways to support them.

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Parents' and Providers' Views of Important Aspects of Child Care Quality

Mar 2015 | Laura Sosinsky; Tamara Halle; Amy Susman-Stillman; Jennifer Cleveland; Weilin Li

Understanding the match – or mismatch – of parents’ and providers’ perceptions of quality can inform efforts to improve quality, to strengthen family-provider relationships, and to assist parents in selecting child care that fits their child’s and family’s needs. As part of a larger project examining factors that shape parental decision-making, 92 QRIS providers in two states (46 in Maryland and 46 in Minnesota) and 19 parents of young children (ages zero to six) in Minnesota who recently applied for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program were asked their views on what is important to the overall quality of a child care arrangement.

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