Children and Families

Governors and state leaders play a critical role in the protection and support of vulnerable children, families, and individuals. The Children and Families (C&F) team provides timely and individualized state-focused technical assistance to Governors, their human services policy advisors, and state agency leadership so they can improve policies and systems that will allow children, families, and communities to reach their full potential. With an emphasis on helping States develop opportunities and policies that support all communities, the C&F team aids Governors to advance and fulfill their vision for the children and families in their states.

Our Focus Areas

  • Whole-family Approaches to Serving Children and Families
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Human Services Data and Delivery Systems
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Food Insecurity and Hunger
  • Family Economic Security
  • Anti-Poverty Solutions
  • Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Adoption
  • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment
  • Empowering Families and Communities
  • Reducing Barriers to Opportunity and Equity

Meet The Team

  • Jordan Hynes
    Program Director
  • Jess Kirchner
    Senior Policy Analyst
  • Eli McCabe
    Policy Analyst
  • Ekaan Ahmad
    Policy Coordinator

Major Initiatives

Policy Academy on Strengthening Youth Mental Health  

This Policy Academy builds on last year’s Chair’s Initiative on Strengthening Youth, Led by Governor Murphy of New Jersey. NGA will support up to 6 states in intensive technical assistance and strategic planning to implement the Chair’s Initiative Playbook through 4 main policy pillars:  

  • Prevention and Resilience 
  • Increasing Awareness and Reducing Stigma 
  • Access and Affordability of Quality Treatment and Care 
  • Caregiver and Educator Training and Support 

Children & Families Core Advisors Board 

The NGA Children and Families Team established the Core Advisors Board (CAB) to provide feedback on governors’ top priorities impacting the lives of children and families. Each year, a small group of governors’ human services policy advisors and agency leaders are selected to provide critical input and feedback on the structure and content of the NGA Center’s work with the states on human services and early childhood education and care issues.  

Human Services Policy Advisor Institute 

The Human Services Policy Advisors Institute is a network of governors’ policy advisors and state leaders from social services and children and family-serving agencies that comes together on a monthly call to share innovations and best practices for serving the complex needs of children and families. This network serves as a regular check-in for updates, content, peer-to-peer exchanges, and networking for policy advisors to discuss multidisciplinary policy considerations. Recent topics include: Human Services Workforce; Integrating Eligibility Screening Systems; and Supporting Older Populations.  

Children and Families Library

New Relief Coming From Washington – What Does This Mean For Rental and Utility Assistance?

New Relief Coming From Washington – What Does This Mean For Rental and Utility Assistance?

Through the new Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Governors and local officials are providing emergency rental and utility assistance for effected individuals and families. by Jordan Hynes and Michael Bonino-Britsch Throughout ...
Child Care for School-Aged Children

Child Care for School-Aged Children

The need for child care for both young and school age children, who are learning from home during the day while adults work, has thus expanded to more families and ...
Human Services Policy Advisors Institute: 2020 Virtual Series

Human Services Policy Advisors Institute: 2020 Virtual Series

The policy institute will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about the factors that are shaping human services work in the U.S., along with showcasing innovative approaches to addressing ...
Improving Outcomes and Reducing Cost of Care for Complex Care Populations With Behavioral Health and Social Support Needs: Toolkit for Governors

Improving Outcomes and Reducing Cost of Care for Complex Care Populations With Behavioral Health and Social Support Needs: Toolkit for Governors

The toolkit features lessons learned from Arizona and Michigan, who served as models for the participating states, and supplements the NGA road map for building complex care programs and the ...
13 States Join Learning Network Supporting Child and Family Well-Being Throughout the Pandemic

13 States Join Learning Network Supporting Child and Family Well-Being Throughout the Pandemic

As families and communities face increased uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 states have joined a new network linking governors’ offices, child welfare leaders, state human services and education ...
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State Human Services Actions & Initiatives for COVID-19

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices has compiled a table listing State Human Services Actions & Initiatives responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The actions and initiatives are organized ...
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State Strategies to Support Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services through the COVID-19 Pandemic

(View/Download) New Challenges Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governors were looking for ways to strengthen substance use disorder (SUD) provider capacity as part of their comprehensive response to the ...
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Child Care Reopening and Recovery

(View/Download) Introduction As states and governors continue working to flatten the curve, plans have been developed and finalized in many states to reopen businesses. In supporting both the child care ...
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Addressing Child Abuse Reporting and Supporting Child Well-Being During COVID-19

Background Many governors have noted widespread concern about reduced reporting of child abuse and neglect during stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. With schools closed and other mandatory reporters ...
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Summer Camps and Summer Learning Opportunities

As states shift their focus from the immediate emergency of COVID-19 school closures toward the reopening of schools and educational centers in the summer and fall, there has been growing ...

Steps to Address Food and Financial Insecurity for Individuals and Families in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This memo looks at what system level changes governors are making to address food and financial insecurity, including support for affected workers, as a result of COVID-19. This memo is ...

Flexibilities Under CCDBG/CCDF, CARES Act Supports for Small Businesses and Child Care

The National Governors Association recently hosted a webinar in partnership with the Office of Child Care within the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and ...