For low-income young children to thrive, their families need access to affordable, high-quality services—such as health and mental health care, early care and learning, and parenting support. States and communities can improve the odds by implementing policies and practices that meet child and family needs in more holistic ways.
States vary greatly in their efforts to integrate services for young children, and much more can be done. One important way that states can make a difference is by maximizing the strategic use of fiscal resources to promote positive outcomes. States can analyze their budgets in terms of their effectiveness regarding healthy early development and school success. They also can respond to potential opportunities—and challenges—that emerge from federal decisions.
In addition to what states can do, integrated community efforts to support the healthy emotional development of young children and families are also critical, especially for children experiencing the greatest risk.