May 23, 2023 | EC-LINC Webpage

Building knowledge and sharing resources by and for local early childhood systems builders.

The New Neighborhood:

Local Early Childhood System Building Resource Hub

We are thrilled to introduce The New Neighborhood, a hub designed for communities exploring or early in their development of local early childhood systems. The webpage is dedicated to highlighting and sharing innovative early childhood systems efforts from across the country and is a place for organizations to access the latest information on local early childhood system building.

The New Neighborhood highlights many of the resources CSSP has developed over the years to support the development of local early childhood systems, including tools focused on the impact, innovation, and progress of communities making a change on behalf of young children and their families. Over time we will include new resources developed by national partners and local early childhood system builders and champions. The hub uses the Building Blocks of an Early Learning Community as its framework, which captures community characteristics and actions that promote healthy child development and family well-being. We use the four key building blocks to explore the components of an integrated early childhood system and examples of resources to support further development:


1. Community Leadership, Commitment, and Public Will to Make Early Childhood a Priority

The resources under this tab focus on local leaders and community members understanding the importance of and focusing on providing high-quality, accessible early childhood supports. 

2. Quality Services that Work for All Young Children and their Families

This building block includes resources focused on ensuring that communities provide comprehensive basic services for families that proactively promote health, learning, and family strengths, as well as routine screening and identification of concerns, and timely access to intensive services when needed. In addition, there are resources about making those services more effective including active engagement of families and parents as partners, support for service providers, and using data to drive change.

3. Neighborhoods Where Families Can Thrive

This building block contains resources that focus on place-based strategies and the neighborhoods where families live. The community's physical environment facilitates safety and access to essential services both locally and beyond, while economic and job opportunities are accessible to everyone, and individuals feel a sense of belonging and hope within their neighborhoods and connection to the broader community.  

4. Policies That Support and Are Responsive to Families

This final building block contains information on policies and workplace practices that prioritize families and children, with an emphasis on equity and responsiveness, while land use and community development policies are designed with young children and families in mind.

Dr. Joan Lombardi, longtime champion and founder of the podcast that first launched this name, reflects on The New Neighborhood in a new blog, The New Neighborhood: A Home for Community Early Childhood Systems. Dr. Lombardi shares that, “Whatever the pathway towards assuring that the community supports families and young children, we need to learn from efforts; where challenges have been faced and solutions found to address them. To that end, the information posted on the New Neighborhood site, is another step to bring more cohesion to this movement for change.” 

We encourage you to check out The New Neighborhood and explore all of the available resources and tools. If there are local resources you would like featured on The New Neighborhood, please email [email protected].

New from CSSP

Let Us Rise: How Parents and Caregivers Would Design a Permanent Child Allowance to Advance Racial and Economic Justice

To learn how a child allowance can be designed to meet families’ needs and advance racial and economic justice, CSSP interviewed more than 40 Black, Latinx, and other parents and caregivers of color with low and moderate incomes, asking about their goals for themselves and their families, their experiences with the Child Tax Credit and other programs that helped meet their needs, and what they would need from a permanent child allowance in order to support their families and fulfill their goals.

The New Neighborhood: A Home for Community Early Childhood Systems

A new blog authored by Dr. Joan Lombardi reflects on the launch of The New Neighborhood hub and this important step forward to connect the dots, improve the lives of young children and families, and assure equity from the start.

The Biden Administration’s Budget Recognizes Investments in Families Are Long Overdue: Now Let’s Get To Work

In its annual budget released in March 2023, the Biden administration once again proposed critical investments in families, including restoring the Child Tax Credit, establishing a national paid family and medical leave program, and expanding access to high quality child care and early education. This fact sheet shares how the Biden administration’s proposals reflect what Black, Indigenous, and Latinx parents and caregivers have told us that they need.

Featured Resources for System Building:

Expanding Community-Based Doula Care

Access to community-based doulas promotes more equitable infant birth outcomes, maternal and child health, and child-parent relationships. The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center released a new research report, Community-Based Doulas: A Proven Solution To Improve Perinatal Outcomes.” Their comprehensive review of new evidence reveals that doulas are an effective strategy to improve healthy birth rates and development outcomes of young children.

The Getting Doulas Paid Policy Brief by HealthConnect One defines the services offered by and the role of community-based doulas and explores the key considerations for doula Medicaid reimbursement that are unique to this doula care model. The brief includes an overview of the scope of practice and importance of the community-based doula model, a review of the current state of reimbursement rates for Medicaid coverage, and recommendations on how to move forward.

Other Resources for Early Childhood Systems Builders
  • For professionals focused on early childhood and family well-being: RAPID is an early childhood and family well-being survey that launched in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 3 years of RAPID interactive report looks back on what they’ve learned through their surveys over the past few years. It includes an overview about their findings regarding material hardship, supports that are helping families the most, and child care provider burnout. The report also contains information on their impact, partnerships, and future.

  • For providers working with immigrant families: Erikson Institute’s Supporting Immigrant Families website provides frontline providers with trainings and resources to support undocumented and mixed-status families with children in their care.

  • For child care policy advocates: Sustaining Child Care Gains after the Pandemic Emergency, a  report from the BUILD Initiative, draws on interviews with administrators from ten states to identify changes in child care policy and whether they are sustainable. They found gains in increasing the number of families eligible for assistance, reducing the burden of family copayments, paying providers to build their stability, and supporting higher workforce compensation. The report discusses what made these innovations possible and the challenges to sustaining them.

  • For advocates focused on income support for family well-being: Child Trends has published Cash Transfers Support Infant and Toddler Development, a brief summarizing the evidence base on cash transfers and how these policies can support infant and toddler development and narrow income gaps. They additionally offer recommendations to inform policies that support infant and toddler development and well-being through flexible funds to families.

EC-LINC is a network of partners with a shared goal—to support families and improve results for young children in communities across the country.

There is much to be learned about what it takes for early childhood systems to address population level outcomes at scale. There are a variety of funding streams, programs, and approaches—from multiple sectors—flowing into communities with the expectation that an integrated early childhood system be established.

Yet there is no central resource that brings together innovative local communities with state and national leaders to intentionally collect existing and new knowledge, develop resources, and test new ideas. That’s why the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities Initiative is here.

Media Contact

Jessica Pika, Communications Director
Joshua Perrin, Communications Manager
Center for the Study of Social Policy
1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005

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