RELEASE: What Governors Should Do on Early Childhood Policy During Their First 100 Days

Washington, D.C. — Twenty states just elected new governors, many of whom discussed prioritizing early childhood policy as part of their campaigns. Today, the Center for American Progress released a new early childhood policy report designed to spur state action on the issue in 2019. The report lays out an action plan for the first 100 days in office for governors-elect, as well as a long-term agenda for governors to develop a comprehensive early childhood system in their respective states.

“Lack of access to affordable early learning programs is forcing too many Americans out of the workforce and is costing states billions in economic activity and revenue,” said Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress. “Many of the states and localities that have made progress in developing robust early childhood systems have achieved success due in large part to leaders who make the issue a key priority. We believe this plan empowers governors to swiftly take on that critical leadership role.”

During their first 100 days in office, CAP recommends that governors:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to early childhood policy by discussing child care in their State of the State addresses, including early childhood investments in their budget proposals, and raising public awareness about the current early childhood landscape.
  • Build a governing structure that supports early childhood policy by establishing a single state agency for early childhood policy; appointing a Children’s Cabinet and encouraging interagency coordination; appointing an early learning adviser in the governor’s immediate office; and creating formal advisory committees to convene key stakeholders.
  • Use their office to promote data-driven decision-making by conducting a cost-of-quality study to help states identify gaps in need; identifying localities or populations that demonstrate a particularly acute lack of access to licensed child care; harnessing the power of workforce registries for early learning professionals; and analyzing infant and maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity.

The report also recommends that states build on these early efforts by making home visiting available to all families; providing high-quality, affordable child care to all families; and establishing universal, full-day pre-K programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Please click here to read: “Early Childhood Agenda for Governors in 2019” by Simon Workman and Cristina Novoa

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6292.