NGA releases Expert Roundtable Report on Integrating and Advancing Prenatal to Age 3 Policies


The National Governors Association (NGA) released a report from the June 5, 2018 expert roundtable in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The roundtable was convened in collaboration with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

More than 25 participants gathered, representing researchers; practitioners; health, education and human services policy experts; and staff from governors’ offices and state agencies in Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington. The purpose of the roundtable was to review the latest research and hear examples of states that are integrating services for their youngest children and easing burdens on parents and families.

Nurturing Strong Children

To ensure that our next generation has a strong start and that children’s biography is marked by resilience, curiosity and hope, participants at the roundtable acknowledged that all children need:

  1. Families and caregivers who are supported so that they can have responsive relationships with children.
    Good nutrition, safe environments and health care.
    Quality early care and early learning experiences to support cognitive, social and emotional development.
    Strong communities that are safe and provide tailored support.
    Systems and policies that facilitate integration of services so that children and families get the help that is most meaningful to them.

These components interact to help mitigate adverse life conditions and lead to positive outcomes for children.

Essential Elements for a vision of integrated prenatal to age 3 policies

  1. Prevention
  2. Integration
  3. Differentiation
  4. Sustainability
  5. Innovation

A Bright Future for Every Child

The roundtable was an important early step for supporting governors who choose to build a brighter future for every child in their state. The conversations affirmed the goal of building an integrated system of prenatal to age 3 policies and related programs that will address disparities and help all children realize their unique potential. Some states are well on their way to developing such a system of supports; others are just beginning. Whatever the starting point, however, it is important for governors to articulate a vision, establish goals, prioritize actions and develop a strategy to build a high-impact system of care for young children and families. The information generated in this convening will be explored further in a subsequent gathering of states as well as an NGA-supported prenatal to age 3 policy academy that brings state and national experts together to identify promising practices and policy levers that governors and their staff can explore to build a coordinated system of support for our youngest children and their families. In the end, examples will emerge for how governors can work toward creating a comprehensive vision, a set of policies and related investments aimed at the prenatal to age 3 years.