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Eighteen counties are among 30 communities targeted by leading national organizations to focus on child development from birth to age 3. Research shows investments in the first three years of life, when a child’s brain develops faster than at any other time period, are most critical in helping more children become more confident, empathetic, contributing members of their communities. About the Pritzker Children’s Initiative

For more than 15 years, the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI) has been committed to a single, attainable goal: that all of our nation’s at-risk children will have access to high-quality early childhood development resources, increasing their likelihood of success in school and life. With a focus on the importance of ages birth to 3, PCI supports initiatives that unlock public and private investments in early childhood development, increase the supply and reach of evidence-based interventions and accelerate innovation and knowledge sharing.

The National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Center for the Study of Social Policy, National Institute for Children’s Health Quality and StriveTogether each selected community partners that are demonstrating a commitment to ensuring children have a strong start in life.

The partnership is funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. The Sorenson Impact Center, housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, is working with PCI and the partner organizations to manage the initiative.

“This announcement marks an unprecedented moment in our nation’s commitment to our youngest learners. For the first time, communities across the country will work together to take action to increase high-quality services for children from birth to age 3 toward a common goal of kindergarten readiness,” said Janet Froetscher, president of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

“The communities will support a strong start for babies and toddlers through local solutions: giving children a healthy start at birth, strengthening support for families with infants and toddlers and expanding high-quality care and learning environments.”

The selected communities will launch the initiative in partnership with national organizations supporting the effort. Partner organizations will equip communities with tools to strengthen early childhood systems and share best practices with other cities, counties and states. In turn, communities will share resources that will drive policies and make the case for public and private investment in core services for infants and toddlers.

The needs of infants and toddlers cannot all be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. As part of this joint initiative, local leaders will pursue a variety of interlocking strategies in the child care, health, early childhood education and human services domains that promote and work toward the well-being of young children. These integrated approaches will build on promising existing community-driven efforts and work to address new challenges as they aim to provide parents with unique tools, information and guidance at a time when many feel most overwhelmed.

“We are grateful and proud to partner with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative in our efforts to improve kindergarten readiness. We applaud the pioneering work of the counties and cities named in today’s announcement. County leaders leave no stone unturned in pursuit of our goal to build healthy, vibrant, safe communities for our residents – and the best path to success starts early. With the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, we will strengthen early childhood systems and help to build brighter futures for kids today,” said Matt Chase, NACo executive director.

Research shows that investments in children and their families in the earliest years help communities create better education, health, social and economic outcomes that increase revenue and reduce the need for costly, less effective interventions later in life. With an estimated 3 million of the nation’s youngest children at risk of reaching kindergarten not ready to learn, this initiative seeks a dramatic investment in improving kindergarten readiness.