Prenatal-to-Three Evaluation Partnership

Early ChildhoodDec 9 2021

Child Trends is currently partnering with The Heinz Endowments to support the latter’s efforts to build a stronger and more equitable prenatal-to-three (PN-3) system in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The PN-3 system is complex and includes a network of organizations—along with related policies and programs—that support families with children from pregnancy to age 3 across multiple domains. Through this partnership, Child Trends aims to help The Heinz Endowments develop and evaluate a strategy that builds capacity within the county’s PN-3 system and supports equitable outcomes for young children and their families.

As part of the partnership, Child Trends has worked closely with The Heinz Endowments to create a shared vision for an equitable PN-3 system in the county, with clearly identified goals, strategies, and metrics for tracking progress. The team also conducted in-depth research and evaluation—including data collection and analysis from various sources—to inform products that can be used by The Heinz Endowments and other local PN-3 leaders to benefit the county’s youngest children and their families. For example, Child Trends created a “Path to Prenatal-to-Three Equity” framework that outlines key areas for PN-3 systems-building that was reviewed by county stakeholders. The team interviewed more than 30 content experts, policymakers, advocates, and practitioners to understand the strengths and gaps in the PN-3 system in Allegheny County. Child Trends then crafted a PN-3 Playbook for the county that included a review of the extant literature on PN-3 topics, a map of PN-3 services in the county, a comparison of Pennsylvania’s PN-3 policies with federal standards, recommendations for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 relief funds, and guidance for equitable grantmaking. Child Trends has also developed numerous other research briefs designed to support The Heinz Endowments and their partners in understanding more about similar PN-3 initiatives around the country and in identifying county-level opportunities to equitably and effectively distribute COVID relief funds, as well as ways to better leverage publicly available PN-3 data.

Child Trends has also been co-leading, with Propulsion Squared, a developmental evaluation of The Heinz Endowments’ PN-3 Investment Advisory Councils (IACs). The IACs were a pilot in community-driven grantmaking that brought together county, nonprofit, and grassroots leaders and stakeholders from across sectors to collaborate on strengthening the PN-3 system in Allegheny County and better support equitable outcomes for all families. The team supported three IAC groups focused on different PN-3 topics (maternal and child health, child care access, and families’ economic security) and created data handouts summarizing key data points and policy considerations related to each topic. A synthesis of the IAC process, including the recommendations and proposed projects put forth by each group, will be made publicly available in early 2023.


The Heinz Endowments


Principal Investigators: Kathryn Tout, Andra Wilkinson (co-PI)

Project Director: Andra Wilkinson

Deputy Project Director: Rowan Hilty

Other team members: Kara Ulmen, Priya Koushik, and Christina Padilla

Consultant: Kristine Andrews (Ideas to Impact)


Chad Dorn, Propulsion Squared

Laura Johns, Propulsion Squared