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


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Early Education Takes Center Stage At Governors’ Opening Session

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Protected: The Untapped Potential of an Early Childhood Assessment System

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States Focus on Improving Child Welfare

The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that eight states—Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin—will participate in a 18-month technical assistance effort focused on improving safety and preventing ...

New Opportunity: Early Care and Education Workforce Investment

The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that seven states, Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Utah and Washington, will receive grants and support to help develop a policy agenda to strengthen the quality of their early ...

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WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association today released the following statement on Congress’ reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs: “Governors have prioritized addressing child hunger through federal child nutrition programs. The ...

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Early Childhood Education

The Honorable Thad Cochran Chair Committee on Appropriations U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Barbara Mikulski Ranking Member Committee on Appropriations U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Hal ...

Tackling Intergenerational Poverty: How Governors Can Advance Coordinated Services for Low-Income Parents and Children

Poverty and long-term unemployment plague Americans of all ages, including parents and their children. The complexity of the issues requires coordinated support for low-income families that goes beyond temporary relief ...

Strategies For Improving Outcomes For Justice-Involved Youth

A growing body of research finds that for many youth, involvement in the juvenile justice system can increase rates of recidivism and lead to poorer long-term outcomes. Even limited contact ...

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade

Improving early literacy is essential to increasing high school graduation rates, success in postsecondary education and ensuring states have a qualified future workforce, according to a previous report released by ...