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

Early Care and Education Workforce 2.0 Cross-State Convening

Early Care and Education Workforce 2.0 Cross-State Convening

October 22-24, 2018 | Minneapolis, MN The National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), hosted a cross-state meeting ...
Urging Action on Critical Programs Set to Expire

Urging Action on Critical Programs Set to Expire

Letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging action on critical programs set ...

2018 Policy Institute for Governors’ Human Services Advisors

August 13-15 | Washington, DC The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) Economic Opportunity Division hosted a multi-state Policy Institute as a venue for senior leadership in ...

NGA Announces Three New Health Initiatives With States

WASHINGTON —The National Governors Association (NGA) announced three new health policy initiatives today to assist states. NGA’s Harnessing the Power of Data to Achieve State Policy Goals: The Foundation for State Success ...

Early Care and Education Workforce Cohort I Policy Outcomes

From May 2016 – June 2017, the NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) provided technical assistance and grants to support states with developing a policy agenda to strengthen the ...

Building Inclusive Talent Pipelines for People with Disabilities

May 9-10, 2018 | Madison, WI The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) held a Learning Lab exploring strategies states can use to develop talent pipelines for ...

Reducing Childhood Hunger: A Toolkit For Governors and First Spouses

Summary Governors recognize the importance of ensuring that children have regular access to healthy meals. Child nutrition is vital to the success of a governor’s agenda because it influences educational ...

Parents And Children Thriving Together: Two-Generation State Policy Network Midpoint Meeting

March 19-20, 2018 | New Brunswick, NJ Two-generation strategies seek to promote children’s learning and healthy development while simultaneously promoting the parents’ success as both caregivers and breadwinners. The National ...

States Expand Opportunities for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced a new project aimed at helping states expand training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Five states – Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana and Maryland – have ...

States Work to Strengthen Early Childhood Education Workforce

WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today announced that four additional states will receive grants and support to help develop a policy ...
Financing an Equitable and High-Quality System: Investing in Early Learning

Financing an Equitable and High-Quality System: Investing in Early Learning

On February 14, 2018, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Education division and WestEd held a webinar focused on early care and education (ECE) finance. The webinar highlighted ...

Parents and Children Thriving Together: The Role of State Agencies in Crafting a Statewide Two-Generation Strategy

Summary Governors are responsible for ensuring that state government systems meet the needs of low-income families as effectively and efficiently as possible. Two-generation policy strategies can make a range of ...