Conversation Starters on Building More Equitable Early Childhood Systems

Research BriefEarly ChildhoodMay 30 2023

Child Trends and Start Early have partnered to better understand what early childhood systems builders need to build and support more equitable systems. We define an early childhood system as a comprehensive, cross-sector, and coordinated set of policies, services, and supports for young children (prenatal through age 5) and their families. At the heart of this work are the following central questions: What makes an early childhood system successful? If families are placed at the heart of systems building and improvement, what do systems need to do differently? How can systems know they are making progress toward more equitable policies, programs, and outcomes?

The briefs in this series, called Conversation Starters, offer a new framework for early childhood systems that center families’ experiences and raise key considerations and next steps for implementing the framework.

Maia Connors was director, research and policy initiatives with Start Early while drafting these briefs but, at the time of publication, she was research associate professor and executive director of the Early Childhood Research Alliance of Chicago (EC-REACH) at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. She is an expert on early childhood education systems and policy.

Suggested Citations

Connors, M.C. & Paschall, K. (2023). Defining a family-centric early childhood system. Child Trends & Start Early.

Paschall, K. & Connors, M.C. (2023). Authentic family engagement in family-centric early childhood systems building. Child Trends & Start Early.