All families need support to help their children stay healthy. When this support starts early, during pregnancy, it leads to the best outcomes. But families have different needs, and they look for help in many places. We invest in making health and social services easier for families to use and better matched to their needs.
What’s the goal of this work?
The goal is to create a system of coordinated care that:
- Covers every part of a child’s early health and well-being, including their parents and caregivers
- Focuses on the factors that lead to good health and addresses problems early
- Promotes health equity
- Puts the needs and experiences of families first
How do you achieve this goal?
Our programs work to:
- Provide health, well-being, and prevention services to all families
- Detect problems that can harm future health and connect families to services that address the problems
- Help health care providers and other professionals work together, so that families can get support in the places they already visit and trust
- Help communities to partner with states and providers, and build fair systems that meet communities’ and families’ needs
- Improve policies and practices at the state and community levels to produce lasting improvements
Why do you fund early childhood systems?
We focus on the time before birth and the first few years of a child's life. During that time, children and families are changing fast, and getting support early leads to better long-term health. According to the 2020 National Survey of Children’s Health (PDF - 450 KB), more than 30% of families have complex needs that can make it hard for children to thrive.
Many families don’t know where to get support. Many can’t get all the help they need. Separate services aren’t efficient, and they don’t serve the whole person.
We help make services more available and easier to access. We also connect services to each other. This supports the entire family and makes it easier for children to grow well.
Who are your partners?
We partner with state and tribal governments, local communities and families, health service providers, and other family support systems. We also work with national groups that want to improve early childhood health and development.
Who do you fund?
In fiscal year 2023, we supported Early Childhood Systems grants in 30 states and one tribal nation. We provided nationwide technical assistance and leadership.
Find details about awardees on the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Awarded Grants dashboard. Filter by program name or state.
What programs support early childhood systems?
- Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS)
- Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems (ECDHS)
- Infant-Toddler Court Program (ITCP)
- Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood (TPEC)
- Rural Health Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive (Rural Health IMPACT) (final program activities end in 2024)