NLC’s Early Childhood Success team has begun a two-year initiative to showcase how local governments continue to build the capacity of municipal leaders to advance strong agendas for young children, families, and the early childhood workforce. Working alongside the cities of Boston, MA; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; and Seattle, WA, this initiative provides a glimpse into city priorities around early childhood, shares lessons learned throughout the years, and reflects on the elements of a well-aligned system and how these elements can be implemented effectively to address the needs of children, families and the early childhood workforce.

Ensuring access to high-quality, evidence-based early childhood opportunities is critical for families to thrive and children to flourish and that begins with a well-trained and fully supported early childhood workforce. Local governments have a key role to play in supporting the child care economy and creating pathways for young children, their families, and the early childhood workforce to access educational and economic prospects. By investing in the early childhood workforce, cities not only bolster the quality of care but also stimulate economic growth. Robust support for the child care economy enables parents who may struggle due to a lack of childcare to participate fully in the workforce, thus enhancing productivity and economic stability at both the individual and community levels.

Supported by the Foundation for Child Development, these ‘Decades in the Making’ profiles will serve as a roadmap for any city, regardless of size, political structure, or starting point, to gain an increased understanding of how they can elevate and prioritize early learning and the child care economy across city government and garner buy-in from a diverse set of community stakeholders. Through various publications and webinars, NLC’s Early Childhood Success team will share best practices and strategies gleaned from Boston, Hartford, Jacksonville, and Seattle, empowering communities nationwide with the tools and resources necessary to implement effective strategies for advancing early childhood success.

Each city has identified three themes that have led to and continue to pave the way for early childhood success in their city:



Building Alliances

Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce

Early Literacy



Universal Pre-K

Mayoral Support

Supporting the Child Care Field



Research and Data

Mayoral/ Council Support

Cross-Department Collaboration



Data-Driven Practices

Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce

City and Community Voices

For more information about the Decades in the Making initiative, please contact