Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center


Research for Action and Outcomes

Health, maternal care, family life, economic security, and early care and learning—the first three years shape the future of every child’s life. The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center, at Vanderbilt University‘s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, translates research on the best public investments into state policy actions that produce results for young children and society. Our team of researchers and nonpartisan policy experts work with policymakers, practitioners, and advocates to navigate the evidence of what works, set priorities, act with confidence, and analyze results for continuous improvement. We help connect the complex social, economic, and health needs of families that support effective child development in the earliest years—seeking effective policies for each and looking at how all can work together for the greatest impact.

In 2019, The University of Texas at Austin established the national Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at the LBJ School of Public Affairs with initial support from the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. The Center is led by family policy scholar and demographer Dr. Cynthia Osborne, who had served as the Associate Dean for Academic Strategies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs since 2018. Dr. Osborne joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in January 2022. The Center then moved with her to Vanderbilt, transitioning to its new home at Peabody College in the spring of 2022. (See full announcement.)


Guiding Principles of the Policy Impact Center

  1. Investing in children in the earliest years is essential for their healthy development. We must invest in children’s families and the institutions that serve them to promote the health and wellbeing of infants and toddlers.
  2. We should strive to close persistent disparities in outcomes between race and ethnic groups and by socioeconomic status.
  3. We are guided by evidence, but mindful and honest about the limits of the research base. We want to encourage the adoption of effective policies AND support and evaluate innovative strategies to strengthen children and families.

Signature Resources

  1. National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit – An annual national summit for state policymakers, scholars, practitioners, and advocates bringing together those who research early childhood and those who implement prenatal-to-3 policies and programs
  2. Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Clearinghouse – An ongoing inventory of rigorous evidence reviews of state-level policies and strategies that impact the prenatal to age 3 developmental period
  3. Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap – An annual policy guide grounded in evidence that provides states actionable solutions to improve outcomes for all young children
  4. Prenatal-to-3 Policy-Research Exchange – A forum for early childhood stakeholders to exchange ideas and experiences to advance scholarship and evidence-informed policymaking
  5. Building Evidence and Equity – A prioritized research agenda, developed in collaboration with scholars and practitioners, to continue to build a strong and equitable prenatal-to-3 system of care


The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center is supported by the generous organizations below. We are thankful for their investment in the earliest years of a child’s development and their commitment to using rigorous evidence to strengthen policy and decision making.

Ballmer Group
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund
Hemera Foundation
J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Valhalla Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation


Connect with Us

Join the growing network of prenatal-to-3 evidence-driven work. To subscribe for email updates on the latest news and research, click here. Follow @pn3policy and #pn3policy on Twitter.