State and Local - Our Work - BUILD Initiative
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

Support for State and Local Leaders

The BUILD Initiative works to support early childhood systems development in all states.

We focus primarily on helping state leaders create and sustain comprehensive, equitable statewide systems change. We also support their efforts to develop effective local-level approaches to early childhood systems building.

Supporting Systems Building for States: State Partners 

While we support all states, the BUILD Initiative works intensively with our 8 BUILD state partners and the District of Columbia: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.

The BUILD Initiative provides funding and ongoing technical assistance to support states’ efforts to: 

  • Reform existing state systems. 

  • Test new models. 

  • Connect and coordinate programs and services. 

  • Develop new approaches to governance.

  • Help to ensure that all young children have access to comprehensive early childhood systems that result in school readiness. 

BUILD states identify and achieve measurable outcomes in areas such as infrastructure development, quality improvement, evaluation, financing and public engagement. One or more lead organizations in each state engages a diverse team of stakeholders in planning and implementing strategies to create statewide early learning systems. The stakeholder teams are typically comprised of state agency officials, service providers, business and community leaders, parents, advocates and others who work with children. Team members are drawn from both the public and private sectors.

Building a Learning Community

In addition, the BUILD Initiative also brings together our state partners and others regularly in a learning community to improve children’s opportunity to thrive. In 2014 alone, we engaged more than 48 states and territories through topical conferences, webinars, Learning Tables and other face-to-face and technology-enabled opportunities designed to encourage collaboration and peer learning. 

In partnership with the First Five Years Fund, the BUILD Initiative supports states implementing the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge program. The RTT-ELC helps states strategically leverage federal investment to develop practices and policies that can help close the achievement gap for all children. BUILD and FFYF provide technical assistance, peer learning and program development through the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative.

Supporting Local-Level Systems Building 

In addition to our efforts to support states in their policymaking and connections work, the BUILD Initiative also works to support states in developing a local-level approach to early childhood systems building. BUILD leaders believe that a key element of success in building a statewide comprehensive and equitable early childhood system lies in the ability of a state to develop a local infrastructure that can tailor and target its systems-building efforts to the specific needs and realities of young children and families in diverse geographic areas.

Evidence bears out that greater success can be achieved through a state and community-based approach to early childhood systems building than in a state without a mechanism for effective two-way communication, local buy-in, and state supports for local partnerships. 

Moreover, this local approach is essential to the sustainability of state efforts as it builds a strong local constituency to advocate and support early childhood programs with their local and state elected leaders. BUILD continues to pursue possibilities to increase our ability to support a robust state/local approach to early childhood systems building work.