The Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profile shows which state policies meet benchmarks that are favorable to the well-being of children and their families. The profile includes policies that are key elements of a two-generation approach to supporting the well-being and life opportunities of young children and their parents, in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic support.
A two-generation framework for policy design reflects extensive research that identifies the critical supports young children need over time to thrive1,2. Most two-generation supports for young children and families are created through the collective impact of multiple policies. An example is investment in prekindergarten programs and an effective quality improvement system that promotes children’s access to high quality early care and education programs along with state policies such as the Earned Income Tax credit and minimum wage that raise the incomes of low-income working families; another is policies that ensure mental health screenings and access to quality health care for both children and parents.
A brief overview of policies in the EC Two-Generation State Policy Profile is provided below (see policy definitions for an explanation of benchmarks). The Profile is limited to policies for which 50-state data are available. Users who wish to examine additional policies specific to their state, within a two-generation framework, can find suggestions in State Policies through a Two-Generation Lens: Strengthening the Collective Impact of Policies that Affect the Life Course of Young Children and their Parents.
States can support young children's development by making key policy choices in early health and development. This section of ITO highlights states' policy choices for supporting young children's wellbeing: 1) Access to and continuity of health care, including state Medicaid/CHIP eligibility levels and coverage of legal immigrant children; 2) Parents' access to health care, including for low-income pregnant women, and access to a medical home for young children; and 3) Preventive screening and assessment, including adherence to recommended schedules for well-child visits.
Early Care and Education
States make important decisions about the early care and education services they provide to young children and families. This section of ITO higlights states' key policy choices that affect children's development and parents' ability to work: 1) Access to childcare, including subsidy eligibility levels and reimbursement rates; and 2) States' investment in Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-kindergarten, child care centers' class size and student-teacher ratios and investment in infant/toddler specialist networks and credentials and Quality Rating Improvement Systems.
Parenting and Economic Supports
States make critical policy choices that help low-income parents effectively support young children's healthy development. This section of ITO spotlights states' policy choices related to important economic supports for low-income families with young children: 1) TANF requirements for parents of young children; and 2) Income support policies including tax relief, earned income and dependent care tax credits, as well as child support disregards.
State Choices to Promote Access
Income eligibility limit for public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP) at or above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) 5
- Children <1 year
Set eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP) and 208% (Medicaid)
- Children 1-5 years
Set eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP)
- Children 6-18 years
Set eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP)
- Pregnant women
Set eligibility at 322% (Unborn Child Option: CHIP-funded) and 213% (Medicaid)
- Provide lawfully residing immigrant children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provide lawfully residing pregnant immigrant women with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provide temporary coverage to pregnant women under Medicaid until eligibility can be formally determined 5
- Provide temporary coverage to children under Medicaid or CHIP until eligibility can be formally determined 5
- Include at-risk children in the definition of eligibility for IDEA Part C 6
- Do not require redetermination of eligibility for Medicaid/CHIP more than once a year 5
- Have adopted Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act 7
- State has an online dual-benefit form to apply for Medicaid and SNAP 5
- Medicaid pays for maternal depression screening during pediatric/family medicine visits under the child's Medicaid 8
State Choices to Promote Quality
EPSDT screening periodicity schedule meets recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics [FY 2015]4
- 7 Screenings for children <1 year
State requires 7 screens. 70% of eligible screens were completed in 2015.
- 4 Screenings for children 1-2 years
State requires 4 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2015.
- 3 Screenings for children 3-5 years
State requires 3 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2015.
- 4 Screenings for children 6-9 years
State requires 4 screens. 76% of eligible screens were completed in 2015.
- Require newborn screening for the 31 metabolic deficiencies/disorders and core conditions 9
30 universally required by law or rule.
Early Care and Education
State Choices to Promote Access
- Set the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200% FPL 10
A family of three qualifies for assistance at $42,216 or 209% FPL. This reflects a decrease from 210% FPL in 2015.
- Reimburse center-based care at the highest quality QRIS tier above the 75th percentile of current market rates 10
California does not have tiered reimbursement rates.
- Redetermine the eligibility for child care subsidies no more than once per year [FY 2015]12
If employment hours are unpredictable, redetermination must take place at least every four months. If a child is receiving care due to risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, eligibility is limited to three months, at which point the family must be redetermined eligible under a different need criteria.
- Fund a pre-kindergarten program and/or supplement Head Start [FY 2015]13
$622,930,873 for pre-kindergarten
- Require districts to offer full day kindergarten 14
Requires districts to offer half day kindergarten
State Choices to Promote Quality
- Require one adult for every four 18-month-olds, and a maximum class size of eight in child care centers 15
Child care regulations require one adult for every 6 children, and the maximum class size is 12.
- Have early learning standards or developmental guidelines for infants and toddlers 16
- Have an infant/toddler credential 17
- Require through regulation that infants and toddlers in child care centers be assigned a consistent primary caregiver [FY 2013]18
- Require one adult for every 10 4-year-olds, and a maximum class size of 20 in child care centers 15
Child care regulations require one adult for every 12 children, and there is no maximum class size.
- Have implemented a statewide Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) 19
Regional QRIS launched
- Require one teacher for every 12 students in kindergarten classrooms 20
To avoid penalties, districts must maintain class sizes of 33 or less in kindergarten. Grant funding is available to reduce kindergarten to one teacher for every 20 students or lower.
- State has adopted Common Core Standards 21
NCCP believes that Common Core State Standards should be used in conjunction with guidelines for social emotional learning.
- State has comprehensive, free-standing standards for social emotional learning at the K-12 level 22
Parenting and Economic Supports
State Choices to Promote Effective Parenting
- Provide option to extend Medicaid coverage for family planning to otherwise ineligible low-income women 23
Eligibility based on income up to 200% FPL, includes men and individuals younger than 19 years of age.
- Exempt single parents on TANF from work requirements until the youngest child reaches age 1 [FY 2015]24
Recipient may receive a young child exemption for caring for a child less than 24 months of age. This is a once in a lifetime exemption, though subsequent young child exemptions are available for children under 6 months old.
- Reduce the TANF work requirement to 20 hours or less for single parents with children under age 6 [FY 2015]24
Required to work 30 hours.
State Choices to Promote Family Economic Security
- Established a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $9.10/hr and is indexed to inflation 25
- Exempt single-parent families of three below the poverty level from personal income tax 26
- Offer a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit 27
85% of federal credit, up to 50% of the federal phase-in range.
- Offer a refundable state dependent care tax credit [FY 2015]28
Under California Tax Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses, the maximum nonrefundable credit is $1,050.
- Keep copayments for child care subsidies at or below 7% of family income for families of three at 150% FPL 10
Copayments set at 5% of income.
- Offer exemptions and/or extensions of the TANF benefit time limit for women who are pregnant or caring for a child under age 6 [FY 2015]24
Time limit exemptions are offered to parents caring for a child under 24 months of age.
- Has paid family leave for a minimum of 6 weeks with full or partial replacement of wages 29
- State offers a minimum of 28 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits 30
State provides up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UI
Data Notes and Sources
Last Updated: March 31, 2017
Send us recent developments to update your state's profile.
- Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century. The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and psychopathology, 25(4pt2), 1635-1653.
- National data were calculated from the 2011 American Community Survey, representing information from 2011. State data were calculated from the 2009-2011 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2009 to 2011.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2016). The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2015. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed December 12, 2016).
- Brooks, T., Miskell, S., Artiga, S., Cornachione, E., & Gates, A. (2017). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies as of January 2017: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://files.kff.org (accessed February 3, 2017).
- Ringwalt, S. (Comp.). (2015). Summary table of states' and territories' definitions of/criteria for IDEA Part C eligibility. http://www.nectac.org (accessed August 25, 2015).
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2017). Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision. http://kff.org (accessed February 2, 2017).
- Smith, S., Granja, M., Ekono, M., Robbins, T., & Nagarur, M. (2017). Using Medicaid to Help Young Children and Parents Access Mental Services: Results of a 50-State Survey. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (accessed February 7, 2017).
- National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center. (2014). National Newborn Screening Status Report. http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu (accessed March 24, 2015).
- Schulman, K., & Blank, H. (2016). Red Light Green Light: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2016. National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed December 14, 2016). Parents at 150% FPL ineligible in the following states: AL, AR, GA, ID, IA, MD, and MT.
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2015 Math and Reading Assessment. http://nces.ed.gov (accessed November 10, 2015).
- Stevens, K., Minton, S., Blatt, L., & Giannarelli, L. (2016). The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables: Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2015. OPRE Report 2016-94. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed February 22, 2017).
- Barnett, W. S., Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Gomez, R. E., Horowitz, M., Weisenfeld, G. G., & Squires, J. H. (2016). The State of Preschool 2015: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. http://nieer.org (accessed December 12, 2016).
- Education Commission of the States. (2014). Early Learning: Kindergarten Online Database. http://ecs.force.com (accessed March 3, 2015).
- National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. (2013). We Can Do Better: Child Care Aware of America's Ranking of State Child Care Center Regulations and Oversight. http://usa.childcareaware.org (accessed August 14, 2013).
- Administration for Children & Families, Office of Child Care. (2016). State/Territory Early Learning Guidelines. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov (accessed February 3, 2017).
- Administration for Children & Families, National Center on Child Care Professional Development Systems and Workforce Initiatives (PDW Center). (2014). State/Territory Infant/Toddler Credential Overview, April 2014. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov (accessed September 2, 2015)
- National Association for Regulatory Administration. (2014). The 50-State Child Care Licensing Study, 2011-2013 Edition. http://www.naralicensing.org (accessed April 8, 2014).
- QRIS National Learning Network. (2017). Current Status of QRIS in the States map. http://qrisnetwork.org (accessed February 7, 2017).
- Education Commission of the States. (2016). Early Learning: Kindergarten Online Database. http://ecs.force.com (accessed February 7, 2017).
- Achieve. (2015). Closing the Expectations Gap: 2013 Annual Report on the Alignment of State K-12 Policies and Practice with the Demands of College and Careers. http://www.achieve.org (accessed March 24, 2015).
- CASEL. 2015. SEL in Your State: State Scan http://www.casel.org (accessed March 16, 2015).
- Guttmacher Institute. (2017). State Policies in Brief: Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. New York, NY: Guttmacher Institute. https://www.guttmacher.org (accessed February 8, 2017).
- Cohen, E., Minton, S., Thompson, M., Crowe, E., & Giannarelli, L. (2016). Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2015. OPRE Report 2016-67. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed December 7, 2016).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2016). State minimum wages: 2016 minimum wages by state. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed February 18, 2016).
- National Center for Children in Poverty, 50-State Policy Tracker. (2013). 50-State Data, Income Tax Liability. http://nccp.org (accessed September 3, 2015).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2016). States Can Adopt or Expand Earned Income Tax Credits to Build a Stronger Future Economy: State Earned Income Tax Credits, 2015. http://www.cbpp.org (accessed March 3, 2016).
- National Women's Law Center. 2016. State Child Care and Dependent Care, Tax Provisions, Tax Year 2015. Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed December 6, 2016).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2016). State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed November 28, 2016).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2016). Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available? http://www.cbpp.org (accessed March 21, 2016).