The Hunt Institute Partners with the BUILD Initiative to Host Prenatal to 3 Years Summit, the First in a Series of Three Early Childhood Convenings

Raleigh, NC – On Tuesday, June 19, the Developing Systems for Strong Foundations: Prenatal to 3 Years Summit commenced at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, in Raleigh, NC. The two-day summit will provide inspiration and knowledge about the importance of early brain development and what states can do to support infants, toddlers, and their families during this critical period of development. Effective policies and programs from across the country will be shared and discussed. Cross-sector teams from eight states will include representatives from the governor’s office, legislature, state departments, and advocacy. These teams will spend time sharing, learning, and planning to better inform their state’s work to support the states’ youngest children, thereby creating a firm foundation for all that follows, including success in school.

“In states across the country, policymakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized the importance of early childhood development, beginning with prenatal care. They’ve invested in programs and systems focused on the first three years of a child’s life when the brain develops most rapidly and the foundation is built for success in school and in life,” said Janet Froetscher, President of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. “Despite these investments, we still have an enormous gap between the existing supply and the growing need. We have a lot of work to do to ensure that all infants and toddlers have the best possible start.” 

Parents are the most important adults in children’s lives, but families need support to manage the multiple demands of work and home, so their babies and toddlers get a strong start in life. And across the country, these stresses are compounded by the fact that infants and toddlers are the age group most likely to live in poverty. Addressing their needs is critical to the future of our nation.

“The summit will focus on how state political leadership can expand and improve the policies and infrastructure essential to promote quality, equity, and access to programs and services so that babies, toddlers, and their families are well supported. Effective systems are imperative to emphasize continuous learning, collaboration, diversity and equity, child- and provider-focused reform, and innovation.” Susan Hibbard, Executive Director of the BUILD Initiative.

Sessions will also emphasize programmatic innovations and priorities, financing, health, and how best to move forward with an advocacy agenda focused on pregnancy, infants, and toddlers. Subject matter experts from across the country will lead learning sessions and strategic breakout sessions. The breakout sessions are designed to allow for diving into a topic the first day and building upon the learning in the second day’s session. Ample time has also been provided for facilitated state team discussions and planning.

Goals of the two-day summit include:

  • Building understanding of the importance of the prenatal period and the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.
  • Inspiring state political leaders to champion expansion of early childhood initiatives.
  • Convening teams from eight states to solidify shared agreement about key priorities for prenatal-to-three work. The eight states attending are: Arkansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia.
  • Demonstrating effective approaches for states to considering adopting or adapting.
  • Energizing states to strategize next steps and goals for early childhood systems, with a strong focus on infant, toddler, and family supports.

Following the summit, teams will be supported in the continued development of a state action plan, helping to strengthen the collaboration necessary for future state action. “Today’s summit is just the beginning of our work with these state teams,” Hunt Institute President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi said. “Ultimately, we want every state to prioritize its early childhood system in the same way it prioritizes K-12 education, but this type of change takes time and constant collaboration among a broad number of actors within each state. We hope to support these on-going conversations and next steps in the months ahead.”

This summit is the first in a series of three convenings, designed to take a multi-year approach to inspire and support leaders in every state in creating early childhood systems from prenatal to elementary school. The event is being funded by the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, the ChildTrust Foundation, the Brady Education Foundation, Winer Family Foundation, and The Duke Endowment.

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About The Hunt Institute – Established in 2001 and an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, The Hunt Institute is a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. Marshaling expertise from a nationwide partner network since it was established in 2001, The Institute brings together people and resources that help build and nurture visionary leadership and mobilize strategic action for greater educational outcomes and student success. To learn more, visit hunt-institute.org.

About The BUILD Initiative – BUILD Initiative is a national effort that helps advance state work on behalf of young children (prenatal – five), their families, and communities. BUILD Initiative partners with early childhood leaders focused on family support and engagement, early learning, health, mental health, and nutrition to create the policies and infrastructure necessary for quality and equity. BUILD supports these leaders by providing consultation, learning opportunities, resources, cross-state peer-to-peer exchanges, and in-state planning and implementation assistance. These efforts help state leaders to increase quality, expand access, and promote equitable outcomes for our youngest children. To learn more, visit buildinitiative.org.