New research from early childhood experts at Child Trends and Zero to Three finds that Maryland is in the top quartile of states working most effectively to support its young children. Maryland joins 11 other states that rank in the highest of four categories that measure how effectively states support children during the first three years of their lives.
The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 compiles and examines more than 60 policies and indicators related to infant and toddler well-being in three categories (health, family supports, and early education) to rank states by how effectively they support children during their first three years. The report emphasizes that the state in which a child is born and spends the first three years of their life has a significant impact on their future health, well-being, and success.
Maryland’s infants and toddlers fare better than the national average among key indicators of well-being. For example:
- Breastfeeding: 91 percent of young children in Maryland have ever been breastfed, compared to the national average of 83 percent.
- Adverse childhood experiences: 18 percent of young children in Maryland have had exactly one adverse childhood experience, compared to the national average of 22 percent.
- Developmental screenings: 43 percent of young children in Maryland received a developmental screening in the last year, compared to the national average of 30 percent.
While Maryland has strong policies related to children’s health and family supports, the research nevertheless highlights areas in which Maryland can better support its youngest residents. For example, Maryland’s infants and toddlers fare worse than the national average in:
- Prenatal care: 8 percent of mothers in Maryland received late or no prenatal care, compared to the national average of 6 percent.
- Child care: 2 percent of young children in Maryland with family incomes equal to or below 150 percent of the state median income received a child care subsidy, compared to the national average of 4 percent.
“The first three years of life are a critical period that impacts a child’s lifelong health, well-being, and success. This report can help public officials and advocates make sure their state is doing everything possible to support children’s development from their very first moments in the world,” said Sarah Daily, a lead author on the report and early childhood expert at Child Trends. “Every state has room to grow to make sure that children can have a strong start in life, no matter where they are born.”
The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 is a collaborative effort between Zero to Three, an early childhood development nonprofit, and Child Trends, a nonpartisan research organization. The Yearbook was produced as part of Zero to Three’s Think Babies campaign.