Early Learning and Development
We’re dedicated to every child’s early years ensuring they receive vital prenatal care, fostering early bonding with their caregiver, and providing a seamless, high-quality learning journey, preparing them for a successful start in kindergarten. We believe in nurturing the youngest members of our society, laying the foundation for a future filled with possibilities and opportunities.
During a child’s early years, their brain undergoes significant development.
million available slots
in licensed childcare centers and family care programs for 12.3 million children needing care in 2021
times more likely
to experience complications related to pregnancy and childbirth as a Black woman, compared to white women
and the District of Columbia, cost for infant care in a childcare center surpasses the cost of tuition at a public college
Our Policy Path
We advocate for essential public policies to enhance family well-being:
Accessible Health Care: Ensure accessible and culturally sensitive prenatal and maternal health care for all expecting mothers.
Early Childhood Education: Support Early Head Start and Head Start programs, providing vital care for children from low-income households.
Home Visitation: Implement Home Visitation programs connecting children to resources, offering parental support, and identifying developmental differences early.
Equitable Child Care Access: Increase state and local funding to provide equitable access to high-quality child care for all families.
Fair Compensation for Educators: Promote quality rating systems and early educator pipelines, ensuring fair compensation through living wages.
Full-Day Kindergarten: Establish full-day kindergarten programs, creating a seamless transition for children from early years to the early grades.
Supportive Family Bonds: Advocate for paid family leave policies, fostering strong family attachments and early bonds during this crucial period of welcoming a child.
Ten years ago this year, Ramesh Raghavan and Anna Alexandrova published research on child development in a scholarly article entitled, Toward a Theory of Child Well-Being. In the article, they document historical conceptualizations of child well-being, a policy history of the notion of child well-being, methods, and implications for measuring well-being, and–after reviewing several theories–posit one for adoption in the field. …
“We must ensure our students attend schools that are safe, supportive, and fully funded.”…
Nearly 45 days ago, Members of Congress waited until the last minute to temporarily fund the government and prevent a shutdown. …
It is a busy time for Children’s Defense Fund! Last week, we kicked off a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of our founding. We rejoiced with a Celebration of Joy at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.…