BUILD Initiative Blog | What We're Reading - December 4
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILDing Strong Foundations

BUILD Initiative Blog



Racial Equity

At the time they enter kindergarten, many young children face gaps that exist - by income, race/ethnicity, language, and culture - in child outcomes and opportunities, as well as in system capacity and response. Closing these gaps is fundamental to the success of each child and of the United States as a nation. BUILD supports state leaders through tailored technical assistance, capacity building, and peer learning opportunities to support them in doing so. These resources can help build and expand your state's focus on equity in systems.

  • How Common Are Nonstandard Work National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families: Schedules Among Low-Income Hispanic Parents of Young Children?  As the United States has shifted to a 24/7 economy, increasing numbers of U.S. workers work nonstandard hours (i.e., beyond the traditional Monday to Friday daytime schedule). Given that early care and education (ECE) options are limited during these hours, nonstandard work schedules may make it difficult for families to secure and maintain regular ECE arrangements.
  • Frontline:  How Poverty Can Follow Children Into Adulthood  Today, five years after America went through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, children are still more likely to live in poverty than adults. In fact, while the national poverty rate sits at 14 percent, for children, it’s 18 percent.
Special Needs and Early Intervention


All children are unique – but some children have special conditions which require both additional expert care and, often, some accommodations in order to enable them to participate in normative young child activities. Children whose special needs are not addressed or who are separated from normative activities because of their special needs face difficulties that often compound the original need. It is essential to both their development and inclusion, therefore, to respond to their special needs – whether physical, social and emotional, cognitive, or environmental. This requires coordination and alignment across all systems serving them.

  • Child Trends: Data Point: Students with disabilities are falling further behind  The academic gap between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers is growing, according to public school scores from the grade 4 mathematics portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In 2009, the gap between the average scores of students without disabilities and those with disabilities (served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) was 22 score points. By 2015, the gap had grown significantly to 28 points. Most of this increase is due to a significant decline in scores for students with disabilities: Over this time period, the average for non-disabled students increased by two points and the average for students with disabilities decreased by four.


Early Learning

Children must reach critical health and well-being benchmarks in order to thrive, be ready for kindergarten, and read at grade level by third grade. BUILD knows that families and communities are the primary source of this foundational support for children. We help state leaders create safe, healthy, nurturing early learning experiences for all children – to better support families and communities. This “whole-systems” approach includes an emphasis on: primary and preventive health care, early intervention, and quality early care and education. That is why  BUILD Initiative assists states in focusing on standards and assessment, including kindergarten entry assessmentearly care and education, with a focus on infant/toddler and pre-K services, programs and policies; and family, friend and neighbor care.

  • RAND Corporation: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs  This report examines a set of evaluations that meet criteria for scientific rigor and synthesizes their results to better understand the outcomes, costs, and benefits of early childhood programs. The authors focus on evaluations of 115 early childhood programs serving children or parents of children from the prenatal period to age 5.
  • Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health: The New Importance of Children in America  Ensuring the health and well-being of children in the U.S. has never been more critical to the nation’s economic and political future. The massive Baby Boom generation is aging and retiring at the same time that birth rates are declining and altering the social and economic landscape. In 1970 there were 23 seniors for every 100 people of working age, but by 2030 projections show 42 seniors for every 100 workers. The country is already depending on a relatively smaller population of workers and consumers to drive the economy and generate the tax revenue supporting all our social programs, including Medicare and Social Security. This is a troubling trend and one forecast to continue well into the 21st century.
  • Hechinger Report: We know how to provide good child care, we just don’t insist on it  Imagine that you have just entered a room with 12 2-year-olds in it. Three are using a chair as a drum. Two are taking turns snatching a stuffed teddy bear from each other, and whoever isn’t holding the teddy bear is crying. Two more are quietly looking at books, while another is scribbling in one with a black crayon. One has just had an accident in his newly minted “big boy pants” and you can smell it from where you’re standing. Two are building a block tower that is probably about to fall on top of the one playing with a toy car.


Organizational Capacity Building

  • Advocacy and Communications Solution: The Benefits of Long-Term, Mission-Driven Partnerships  “One thing you learn when implementing a thorough plan like ours is that even though the initial implementation is underway, you constantly need to take your work to the next level and raise the bar to ensure you do not become complacent,” says Michelle Katona, FTF Chief Program Officer. “We knew that we still had more to do to meet our goals and advance the system. ACS had the right skills to help us find solutions to our existing and anticipated challenges.


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