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

Addressing Housing Instability Through Systems Alignment and Coordination

Summary Governors are in a unique position to streamline safety net efforts by strengthening cross-system collaboration to serve vulnerable populations. There are incredible opportunities for state and local partners to ...

2017 Policy Institute for Governors’ Human Services Advisors

September 25–27, 2017 | Baltimore, MD The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) hosted a policy advisors' institute to help states implement an integrated and comprehensive approach ...

Early Childhood Education

The Honorable Lamar Alexander Chair Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Washington, D.C. 20510 The Honorable Patty Murray Ranking Member Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ...

Learning Lab on Strategies to Reduce Childhood Hunger

June 12 – 13, 2017 | Richmond, VA The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) held a learning lab to help states identify advanced strategies for reducing ...

States Strategize to Reduce Childhood Hunger

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) today announced that 10 states and territories—Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island—will participate ...

Parents and Children Thriving Together: Two-Generation State Policy Network Kickoff Meeting

March 20-22, 2017 | Denver, Colorado The National Governors Association for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) held a kickoff meeting for Parents ...

State Strategies to Reduce Childhood Hunger

Governors recognize the critical importance of ensuring that school-age children have regular access to healthy meals. Studies show that when children do not have sufficient access to food, they do ...
NGA 2017 Winter Meeting

NGA 2017 Winter Meeting

Session videos from the National Governors Association Winter Meeting 2017 which took place February 25 & 26 in Washington DC View Full Playlist ...

Governors, Spouses Discuss Strategies to End Childhood Hunger

WASHINGTON—At a special joint session of the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting including governors and their spouses, Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and NGA Vice Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval co-moderated a session ...

Child Nutrition

2.1 Preamble Governors recognize the importance of ensuring that children have access to meals of high nutritional value. Yet, far too many of America’s children don’t have reliable access to ...

Early Childhood Education

4.1 Preamble Early childhood education is critical for early workforce development and strong state economies. For governors, early childhood education and child care has been more than just a smart strategy ...

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

1.1 Preamble In 1996, governors and the federal government agreed to end individual entitlement to cash assistance, replacing it with federal funding for state block grants for Temporary Assistance for ...