Education

Early Childhood Policy

We are committed to advancing progressive policies with bold, family-friendly solutions that equitably support all children, families, and early educators.

A male teacher and a student playing with toys at a classroom table. (Getty/Maskot)

What We're Doing

Ensuring access to affordable early care and education

Half of all Americans live in neighborhoods classified as child care deserts with little to no access to child care. We promote bold policy solutions to the child care crisis that will expand access and affordability, bringing an inclusive and racially equitable vision to life.

Building family economic security through child care

Child care is an investment in economic infrastructure, and lack of public investment negatively affects parent workforce participation, family economic security, and the U.S. economy. We need to establish comprehensive solutions that invest in all families.

Promoting quality of early care and education

Family-friendly policy solutions should respect the inherent values and rights of parents, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and the early education field. We promote progressive policies that support the well-being of our youngest children and high-quality early learning in all communities.

The Early Childhood Policy team is committed to advancing progressive policies with bold, family-friendly solutions that equitably support all children, families, and early educators.

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Partner Projects

CAP works in partnership with allied early childhood advocates across the country to expand access to quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities. StateOfChildCare.org and the Grassroots Movement for Child Care and Early Education are two collaborative initiatives that bring together the expertise of allies in early learning.

Featured work

About our team

The Center for American Progress’ Early Childhood Policy team is committed to creating and advancing progressive policies centered on bold, family-friendly solutions that equitably support all children, families, and early educators. Key components of the team’s work include building actionable, inclusive, and racially equitable policies that serve all families regardless of income, geographic location, ability, gender, or race; believing in and supporting the inherent value and rights of young children (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers); valuing the early childhood teaching profession by providing livable wages and additional workforce supports; and building new systems with equitable investments in families.

Latest

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Executive Summary: Protecting Children From Extreme Heat Is Critical for Their Health, Learning, and Development Fact Sheet
The sun sets in New York City as children cool off.

Executive Summary: Protecting Children From Extreme Heat Is Critical for Their Health, Learning, and Development

This fact sheet summarizes a recent Center of American Progress report highlighting the need for policymakers to take steps to develop heat standards for children and support infrastructure improvements to ensure schools, child care centers, and communities are safe and healthy places for children.

Protecting Children From Extreme Heat Is Critical for Their Health, Learning, and Development Report
Children cool off by playing in a fountain in Brooklyn’s Domino Park, New York, during a heat wave.

Protecting Children From Extreme Heat Is Critical for Their Health, Learning, and Development

As climate change intensifies extreme heat around the globe, policymakers must take steps to develop heat standards for children and support infrastructure improvements to ensure schools, child care centers, and communities are safe and healthy places for children.

States Are Taking Action To Address the Child Care Crisis Article
An empty classroom is pictured at a New Glarus, Wisconsin, child care center.

States Are Taking Action To Address the Child Care Crisis

Federal COVID-19 relief funding for child care stabilization grants ended in September 2023, but a number of states have stepped up this year to address the child care needs of working families.

Anna Lovejoy

Executive Summary: How Federal Investments in Safe Drinking Water Infrastructure Are Improving Public Health Fact Sheet
Photo shows a hand holding a clear glass underneath a running faucet

Executive Summary: How Federal Investments in Safe Drinking Water Infrastructure Are Improving Public Health

This fact sheet summarizes a recent Center for American Progress report highlighting the use of federal investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to replace dangerous lead service lines and advance public health among vulnerable communities.

Building a Comprehensive State Child Care Agenda Past Event

Building a Comprehensive State Child Care Agenda

Join CAP's Early Childhood Policy team to learn how the recently released data dashboard and state policymaker toolkit can be used to increase investments in child care and early learning programs.

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