EVIDENCE-BASED STATE POLICYMAKING HELPS BABIES AND THEIR FAMILIES GET OFF TO A HEALTHY START AND THRIVE
State policy leaders and advocates who want to make a real difference in the lives of children and families in their state are always looking for proven, evidence-based policy solutions.
The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center has done the work to identify what state actions are truly effective in supporting kids – by turning to the research, reviewing thousands of articles, and carefully reading hundreds of the most rigorous studies to date.
The Center has identified which state policies best support and strengthen the earliest years of the developing brain and body and have the largest impact on improving the health and wellbeing of infants and toddlers, and their parents. These policies and strategies, and states’ progress in implementing them, are featured in the Center’s third annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap released last week at the Research to Policy Summit. The 2022 Roadmap outlines five policies and six strategies proven to create optimal health and development for children by:
- Increasing access to needed services and adequate household resources;
- supporting parents’ ability to work;
- improving the physical, social, and emotional health of children and parents; and
- fostering nurturing and responsive care environments.
When combined, the policies and strategies create a system of care that provides broad-based economic and family supports, as well as targeted interventions to address identified needs.
The five Roadmap policies include:
- Expanded income eligibility for health insurance,
- Reduced administrative burden for SNAP,
- Paid family leave of at least 6 weeks,
- A state minimum wage of at least $10, and
- A refundable state EITC.
The six Roadmap strategies include:
- Comprehensive screening and connection programs,
- Child care subsidies,
- Group prenatal care,
- Evidence-based home visiting programs,
- Early Head Start, and
- Early Intervention services.
The 2022 Roadmap shows that few states are doing all they can, but laudable progress was made by many:
- Eight states – Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington – implemented at least one new Roadmap policy in 2022 – and Virginia implemented two.
- Six states—California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington—have adopted and fully implemented all five effective policies. (Note: Even among states that have implemented a given policy, the generosity and reach of the policy varies considerably across states. Read the Roadmap to learn more).
- Six states—Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming—have not implemented any of the effective policies.
- Fourteen states are cited as leaders across the six evidence-based strategies, with the greatest progress made in enhancing child care subsidies.
- Seventeen states expanded income eligibility for child care subsidies, 15 states reduced the required copayments that families must pay to access a subsidized slot, and 35 states worked to support providers and families by increasing provider reimbursement rates this year.
“Over the past two years, the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center has become a foundational resource for those of us engaged in early childhood policy at the state level,” Minnesota Representative David Pinto says. “Drawing on the most up-to-date research, the State Policy Roadmap provides a path for our state and every state to follow to ensure that we are doing what works best for kids and families.”
Find your state’s 2022 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap with new data at https://pn3policy.org/pn-3-state-policy-roadmap-2022/.