Fort Worth, Texas; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Atlanta joined the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Cities Supporting a Strong Prenatal to Age 3 Agenda initiative. Launched In 2018 by the NLC Institute for Youth Education and Families (YEF), the project offers city leaders guidance and support to establish and strengthen prenatal to age 3 strategies to achieve better outcomes for our nation’s children.
Earlier this month in Fort Worth, representatives from the three adjunct cities came together to hear from early childhood champions, connect with one another, and share stories of their work.
Participants discussed the importance and need to invest during the prenatal-to-three period as it is critical for healthy development. A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age three than at any later period in life, building the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.
As adjunct cities, Atlanta, Fort Worth, and Saint Paul will continue their work to strengthen local early learning agendas with a focus on infants, toddlers, and their families.
Through participation in this initiative, the City of Atlanta Office of Equity and Resilience and the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) will align with the Promising All Atlanta Children Thrive (PAACT) recommendations, which are focused on providing children ages zero- to five-years-old access to the services they need to be healthy in all aspects of their lives.
The City of Saint Paul has continued to make investments in early learning with initiatives such as the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Saint Paul 3K will expand its effort to increase the awareness and importance of financial stability beginning at birth. Through the Office of Economic Empowerment, they will work to support College Bound Saint Paul, creating college savings accounts for every child born in the city as of January 2020.
The City of Fort Worth and the Early Learning Alliance will work with organizations participating in the Tarrant County Infant and Toddler Developmental Screening Initiative to promote a coordinated system for healthy development through continued screening, referrals, and services to support Fort Worth babies to be born healthy and meeting their milestones.
The first cohort of cities selected for this project includes Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Cleveland; Denver; and Minneapolis.
The Cities Supporting a Strong Prenatal to Age 3 Agenda initiative is part of the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative. The vision of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative is to expand equitable access to and participation in high-quality services for at least one million infants, toddlers, and their families by 2023 to get them on track for school by assuring healthy beginnings, supported families and high-quality child care.
The YEF Institute’s technical assistance initiative seeks to increase the number of children on track for kindergarten by age three.
About the Author: Vera Feeny is a program associate at the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.