Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap, assessment of states, data sources, and more.
How do I use the new 2023 State Policy Roadmap?
The 2023 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap presents a more streamlined approach to the same content that was in our 2022 Roadmap. In the 2023 Roadmap, you can:
- Assess the wellbeing of infants and toddlers in a state and prioritize PN-3 policy goals;
- Identify the evidence-based policy solutions proven to impact PN-3 policy goals;
- Monitor the adoption and implementation of the 12 effective policies and strategies;
- Track the impact that policy changes have on improving the wellbeing of children and families and reducing disparities between racial and ethnic groups.
- Individual state Roadmaps present a snapshot of the progress a state has made; the full US Roadmap, including policy and strategy profiles, contain comparisons across states.
How were the policies and strategies in the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap selected?
Our team of policy analysts conducted comprehensive, systematic reviews of the existing causal evidence to identify which state policies and strategies are effective at creating the conditions in which young children and their families can thrive. These conditions, made clear by decades of research on the science of the developing child, are represented by our eight prenatal-to-3 policy goals. State policies and strategies that have significantly improved outcomes related to at least one of our eight policy goals are considered effective and are tracked in our annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap. For more information, please see the method for determining which policies and strategies are effective in Methods and Sources. As the evidence base grows and more information becomes available, the list of effective policies and strategies will expand. We welcome your input. If you have studies to review or programs to evaluate which could add to the evidence base, please contact our policy team.
Are the Roadmap policies and strategies the only effective solutions states can implement to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their parents?
The policies and strategies on the Roadmap have the strongest evidence of effectiveness of those solutions that we have reviewed to date; however, this does not mean that other solutions are ineffective or that the Roadmap policies and strategies are the only effective solutions states can implement. Given the limits of existing evidence, we are slow to call a policy or strategy ineffective or harmful until it has been thoroughly studied. Many solutions reviewed in our Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Clearinghouse have been designated as Needs Further Study, meaning that current rigorous evidence focusing on the prenatal-to-3 period is insufficient to make a definitive conclusion. Our goal is to continue to grow the evidence base for effective state solutions to improve the lives of the youngest children and their families. Please see our Research & Evaluation and State Services pages to learn more about our efforts to identify promising and innovative new solutions. If you have studies to review or programs to evaluate that could add to the evidence base, please contact our policy team.
What is the difference between a policy and a strategy?
Polices and strategies are each effective at impacting at least one PN-3 goal, but in the Roadmap, we define policies as having clear legislative or regulatory action, based on systematic reviews of the causal evidence. State progress toward implementing the four effective policies, therefore, is measured based on the implementation of specific policy actions. By contrast, the evidence on effective strategies does not yet provide clear legislative guidance on how to fund or implement the strategy to garner the impacts at a statewide level that were demonstrated in the rigorous studies. Progress toward state implementation of many strategies is measured relative to other states and by looking at what action states take on key policy levers, rather than against an absolute standard. For more information about each effective policy and strategy, please see the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Clearinghouse.
My state has adopted one of the policies or strategies on the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap, but we do not get credit. Why?
Different from many other policy reports, the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap only gives states full credit for a policy if those eligible can currently receive the benefit AND the benefit level is sufficient to impact prenatal-to-3 outcomes. The necessary benefit level was determined based on comprehensive reviews of rigorous causal studies. For example, nearly all of the evidence on paid family leave programs is based on California’s program when it offered 6 weeks of leave. Although most states are now offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave, these longer programs have not been rigorously studied yet. Thus, our threshold for an effective paid family leave program is currently 6 weeks. For more information, please see methodology details and source data for states’ progress toward adopting and fully implementing effective policies and strategies in Methods and Sources.
If I do not agree with the Roadmap’s assessment of my state, what should I do?
We hold ourselves to strict standards of precision and accuracy, but admit that occasionally we will fall short. We encourage rigorous engagement with our reported information and welcome any questions or corrections. For more information, please see calculation details and source data in Methods and Sources. If you have questions or feedback about our analyses and conclusions, please contact our policy team.
How frequently will you update the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap?
The Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap is updated annually to monitor states’ progress toward adopting and fully implementing the effective policies and strategies; changes in the generosity of state benefits; progress toward serving all children and families who are eligible for state benefits; changes in the overall wellbeing of children and families in each state; and efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes. To get notified of the next Roadmap release, please subscribe to our email list.
What sources did you use for the policy indicators and outcome measures?
The Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap includes national and state-specific data on hundreds of indicators, including the policy and strategy-specific variation measures, outcomes, and demographic characteristics. Many of these indicators were derived from state-specific sources versus single, national datasets or summary information provided by secondary sources. Other measures were calculated using national data sources that provide consistent information across states and are generally available on an annual basis. These sources include the public-use microdata sample (PUMS) files for the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (Annual Social and Economic and Food Security Supplements); the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH); the National Immunization Survey-Child (NIS-Child); and vital statistics data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For more information on calculation details and source data, please see Methods and Sources.
Are the data disaggregated by race/ethnicity within states?
Aggregate, national level data show that there are important racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes for infants and toddlers and their families. These national level differences are likely mirrored at the state level. The small state samples sizes in even large, national datasets do not allow for the careful examination of data disaggregated by race and ethnicity within states, based on the data quality recommendations by the data sources. Our focus on the prenatal-to-3 period limits the potential sample population even further, and requires pooling data across years for most indicators for analysis at even the state level. This limits the utility of these data to the impact of policy changes on PN-3 outcomes. For those indicators where disaggregation by race and ethnicity is possible, such as birth outcomes, we include these data in our reporting. For more information on calculation details and source data, please see Methods and Sources. For information on national data, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, please see the goal profiles in the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Clearinghouse and the section on State-Level Outcomes.
How much do all of these effective policies and strategies cost? What is the return on investment?
Return on investment analyses conducted by the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center are forthcoming. We have included the existing evidence base on the cost effectiveness and return on investment of all solutions reviewed by our team in the comprehensive summaries available at the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Clearinghouse.
Do the policies and strategies included in the Roadmap promote greater equity?
The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center is in the process of developing our equity criteria which will be used to conduct forthcoming equity reviews of the effective policies and strategies. We have included the existing evidence base on the equitable impact of all solutions reviewed by our team in the comprehensive summaries available at the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Clearinghouse.
How do I download the tables and graphics from the Roadmap?
We encourage you to use the graphics of your state Roadmap to support your own work. Hover your cursor over table or graphic and if a circle with 3 dots (ellipsis) shows up in the right corner, then you can download the graphic. Click on the dots, then the download icon and choose from JPG, PNG, and PDF formats.
How can I best use the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap and resources on the website to inform policy choices in my state?
To build a system to ensure all children get off to a strong start and thrive, each state can use the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap to prioritize its prenatal-to-3 policy goals, adopt and implement effective policies and strategies aligned with those goals, monitor progress toward policy adoption and implementation, and measure the outcomes which demonstrate the health and wellbeing of its children and families. For more information, please see your state’s Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap, as well as our Resources and other tools.
Are you available to present or share information with my state or organization?
How should I cite the 2023 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap?
The recommended citation is:
Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center. (2023, October 12). 2023 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap. Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Vanderbilt University. https://pn3policy.org/pn-3-state-policy-roadmap-2023/.