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Young children (under age 6)3: 2,882,449

Young children by income, 2014


Young children by race/ethnicity, 2014


Exposure to multiple risk factors among
young children, 2014*


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.


Health policies are key elements in the EC Two Generation Policy Profile, supporting health care access and quality for both young children and their parents. Policies concerned with access to health care include state Medicaid/CHIP eligibility limits, coverage of legal immigrant children, coverage for legal immigrant pregnant women, and Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A quality-related policy is the state's adherence to recommended schedules for Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment visits under Medicaid.

Early Care and Education

Several policies included in the EC Two-Generation Policy Profile affect families' access to early care and education. These include the state's income eligibility limit for receiving a child care subsidy, the funding of a prekindergarten program or supplementation of Head Start which increases the supply of early care and education in the state, and the availability of full-day kindergarten.

Other policies can help promote the quality of early care and education. Among these are state regulations concerning child-staff ratios at different age levels and implementation of a statewide Quality Rating Improvement System.

Parenting and Economic Supports

The EC Two Generation Policy Profile includes state policies that affect parenting and family economic stability. These include TANF work requirements for parents with infants; paid family leave following the birth of a child with full or partial wages; and income support policies such as a state Earned Income and Dependent Care Tax Credits, and extended unemployment insurance.


State Choices to Promote Access

Young children who lack health
insurance, 2014


Percent of eligible children who received at
least one EPSDT* screening, by age, FY2014


Income eligibility limit for public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP) at or above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). [2016]5

  • Children <1 year
    Set eligibility to at least 208% (Medicaid and CHIP)
  • Children ages 1-5 years
    Set eligibility at 266% (CHIP)
  • Children ages 6-18
    Set eligibility at 266% (CHIP)
  • Pregnant women
    Set eligibility at 322% (Unborn Child Option)
  • Provide lawfully residing immigrant children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period [2016]5
  • Provide lawfully residing pregnant immigrant women with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period [2016]5
  • Provide temporary coverage to pregnant women under Medicaid until eligibility can be formally determined. [2016]5
  • Provide temporary coverage to children under Medicaid or CHIP until eligibility can be formally determined. [2016]5
  • Include at-risk children in the definition of eligibility for IDEA Part C. [2014]6
  • Do not require redetermination of eligibility for Medicaid/CHIP more than once a year [2016]5
  • Has adopted Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act [2016]7
  • State has an online dual-benefit application for Medicaid and SNAP [2016]5
  • Medicaid pays for maternal depression screening during pediatric/family medicine visits under the child's Medicaid [2015]8

State Choices to Promote Quality

EPSDT screening periodicity schedule meets recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics [FY2014]4

  • 7 Screenings for children <1 year
    State requires 7 screen. 66% of eligible screens were completed in 2014.
  • 4 Screenings for children 1-2 years
    State requires 4 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2014.
  • 3 Screenings for children 3-5 years
    State requires 3 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2014.
  • 4 Screenings for children 6-9 years
    State requires 4 screens. 66% of eligible screens were completed in 2014.
  • Require newborn screening for the 31 metabolic deficiencies/disorders and core conditions [2014]9
    30 universally required by law or rule.

Early Care and Education

State Choices to Promote Access

Monthly child care co-payment fees as a
percent of income for a family of three 
with one child in care, 2015


National Assessment of Educational
Progress (NAEP) fourth grade math and
reading scores, 2015


  • Set the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200% FPL. [2015]10
    A family of three qualifies for assistance at $42,216, or 210% FPL. This reflects a decrease from 213% FPL in 2014.
  • Child care subsidy reimbursement rate meets the recommended 75th percentile of the market rate [2014]12
  • Redetermine the eligibility for child care subsidies no more than once per year [FY2014]13
    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.
  • State supplements Early Head Start [2012]14
  • Fund a pre-kindergarten program and/or supplement Head Start. [FY2014]15
    $568,986,908 for prekindergarten
  • Requires districts to offer full day kindergarten [2014]16
    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. [2013]17
    Child care regulations require one adult for every 6 children, and the maximum class size is 12.
  • Allocate state or federal funds for a network of infant/toddler specialists that provide assistance to child care providers. [2013]18
  • Have early learning standards or developmental guidelines for infants and toddlers. [2014]19
  • Have an infant/toddler credential. [2014]20
  • Require through regulation that infants and toddlers in child care centers be assigned a consistent primary caregiver. [FY 2013]21
  • Require one adult for every 10 4-year-olds, and a maximum class size of 20 in child care centers. [2013]17
    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) [2015]22
    Regional QRIS launched
  • Requires one teacher for every 18 students in Kindergarten classrooms [2013]23
    Not specified in statute.
  • State has adopted Common Core Standards [2015]24
    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 [FY2015]25

Parenting and Economic Supports

State Choices to Promote Effective Parenting

Low-income young children with a
parent employed full-time, 2014


  • Provide option to extend Medicaid coverage for family planning to otherwise ineligible low-income women [2016]26
    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. [FY2014]27
    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 6 months of age or under on a case-by-case basis (the period of this exemption can be reduced or extended).
  • Reduce the TANF work requirement to 20 hours or less for single parents with children under age 6 [FY2014]27

State Choices to Promote Family Economic Security

Education levels of mothers with young
children, 2014


Maximum annual TANF benefit for a
family of 3, for FY2014


  • Established a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $9.10/hr and is indexed to inflation [2016]28
  • Exempt single-parent families of three below the poverty level from personal income tax. [2013]29
  • Offer a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit. [2015]30
    85% of federal credit, up to 50% of the federal phase-in range.
  • Offer a refundable state dependent care tax credit. [2014]31
    A credit of 34%-50% of the "allowable" federal CADC credit based on federal adjusted gross income.
  • Keep copayments for child care subsidies below 10% of family income for families of three at 150% FPL [2015]10
  • Offer exemptions and/or extensions of the TANF benefit time limit for women who are pregnant or caring for a child under age 6. [FY2014]27
  • Has paid family leave for a minimum of 6 weeks with full or partial replacement of wages [2014]32
  • State offers a minimum of 28 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits [2016]33
    State provides up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UI


Data Notes and Sources

Last Updated: August 22, 2016

Send us recent developments to update your state's profile.

  1. Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century. The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39.
  2. 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.
  3. National data were calculated from the 2014 American Community Survey, representing information from 2014. State data were calculated from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2010 to 2014.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 2016. The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2014. (accessed March 7, 2016).
  5. Brooks, Tricia; Miskell, Sean; Artiga, Samantha; Cornachione, Elizabeth; and Gates, Alexandra. 2016. Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies as of January 2016: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Http:// (accessed February 29, 2016)
  6. Ringwalt, S. (Comp.). 2015. Summary table of states' and territories' definitions of/criteria for IDEA Part C eligibility. (accessed August 25, 2015)
  7. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. 2016. Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision . Http:// (accessed February 11, 2016).
  8. National Center for Children in Poverty. 2015. The National Center for Children in Poverty Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Medicaid Survey (accessed May 16, 2016).
  9. National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center. 2014. National Newborn Screening Status Report. (accessed March 24, 2015).
  10. Schulman, Karen; Blank, Helen. 2015. Building Blocks State Child Care Assistance Policies 2015. National Women's Law Center. Http:// (accessed November 11, 2015). Families not eligible at 150% FPL for the following states: AL, AR, GA, ID, IA, KY, MD, MI, MT, NE and NV.
  11. 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. (accessed November 10, 2015).
  12. Schulman, Karen; Blank, Helen. 2014. Turning the Corner: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2014. National Women's Law Center. (accessed March 3, 2015).
  13. Minton, Sarah; Stevens, Kathryn, Stevens; Blatt, Lorraine; and Durham, Christin. 2015. The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables: Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2014. OPRE Report 2015-95. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Http:// (accessed February 18, 2016).
  14. Colvard, Jamie; Schmit, Stephanie, Zero to Three and CLASP. 2012. Expanding Access to Early Head Start: State Initiatives for Infants and Toddlers at Risk. (accessed August 15, 2013).
  15. Barnett, W.S., Carolan, M.E., Squires, J.H., Clarke Brown, K., & Horowitz, M. (2015). The state of preschool 2014: State preschool yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. (accessed February 29, 2016)
  16. Education Commission of the States. 2014. Early Learning: Kindergarten Online Database. (accessed March 3, 2015).
  17. 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. (accessed August 14, 2013).
  18. Schmit, Stephanie; Matthews, Hannah, CLASP. 2013. Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies. (accessed April 2, 2014).
  19. Administration for Children & Families, Office of Child Care. 2014. State/Territory Early Learning Guidelines. (accessed September 3, 2015)
  20. 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. (accessed September 2, 2015)
  21. National Association for Regulatory Administration. 2014.The 50-State Child Care Licensing Study, 2011-2013 Edition. (accessed April 8, 2014).
  22. QRIS National Learning Network. 2015. Current Status of QRIS in the States map. (accessed March 16, 2015).
  23. Education Commission of the States. 2013. Early Learning: Kindergarten Online Database. (accessed April 7, 2014).
  24. 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. (accessed March 24 2015).
  25. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). 2015. Identifying K-12 Standards for SEL in all 50 States. (accessed February 18, 2016).
  26. Guttmacher Institute. 2016. State Policies in Brief: Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. New York, NY: Guttmacher Institute. Https:// (accessed February 18, 2016).
  27. Huber, Erika; Cohen, Elissa; Briggs, Amanda; and Kassabian, David. 2015. Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2014. OPRE Report 2015-81. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Http:// (accessed March 3, 2016).
  28. National Conference of State Legislatures. 2016. State minimum wages: 2016 minimum wages by state. Washington, DC: NCSL. Http:// (accessed February 18, 2016).
  29. National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. 2013. 50-State Data, Income Tax Liability. (accessed September 3, 2015)
  30. 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:// (accessed March 3, 2016).
  31. National Women's Law Center. 2014. 2014 Supplement to Making Care Less Taxing, Improving State Child and Dependent Care Tax Provisions. Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. Http:// (accessed March 24, 2015).
  32. National Conference of State Legislatures. 2014. State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws. Washington, DC: NCSL. Http:// (accessed March 3, 2016).
  33. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 2016. Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available? (accessed March 21, 2016).