How can North Carolina invest in growing the workforce of infant and toddler mental health specialists who are trained to treat young children together with their parents?
How can North Carolina ensure that every infant and toddler involved in the child welfare system has access to the recommended schedule of immunizations?
Since mothers can now be screened for maternal depression as part of infant well-child visits, how can North Carolina use that screening data to better understand where additional mental health services are needed?
These are just a few of the critical questions from NCECF’s policy brief Ensuring Good Health and On-Track Development for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers. The brief shares the results of a Zero To Three self-assessment of 22 state-level policies around supporting babies’ and toddlers’ health and on-track development. Research demonstrates that when these policies are in place, babies and toddlers are more likely to thrive. North Carolina has 13 of the policies in place and has room for improvement on nine policies.
The brief includes:
Policies in the areas of physical health, social-emotional health and developmental screening
Information on whether North Carolina has each policy in place, how many other states do, and any policy clarifications or considerations
- The prioritized Actions from the Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework that are relevant to babies’ and toddlers’ health and development
The Think Babies™ NC policy agenda items that are relevant to health and development
Think Babies™ NC, funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and Zero To Three, aims to improve outcomes for North Carolina’s babies and toddlers by advancing policies that support their healthy development, families and communities, and early learning. Think Babies™ NC is aligned with the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. The initiative is led by the NC Early Education Coalition with support from the NC Early Childhood Foundation and a Leadership Team of state and local organizations focused on advancing public awareness and policy solutions for infants, toddlers, and their families. The Think Babies™ NC policy agenda includes two policies focused on babies’ and toddlers’ health:
- Make sure parents have access to health insurance by closing the coverage gap.
- Adopt reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant employees.
Ensuring Good Health and On-Track Development for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers was released on a webinar that also featured the policy leads for the Think Babies™ NC health and development policy agenda items: Rob Thompson of NC Child on closing the coverage gap and Beth Messersmith of MomsRising and Tom Vitaglione of NC Child on pregnancy accommodations. The webinar slideshow and recording are available.
NCECF will release two more Think Babies™ NC briefs over the next two months, accompanied by webinars.
Building High-Quality Early Care and Education Environments for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers will be released on a March 25 webinar, which will also feature Michele Rivest and Elaine Zukerman of the NC Early Education Coalition to update us on the Think Babies™ NC early learning policy agenda items. Register here.
Supporting Strong Families and Communities for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers will be released on an April 25 webinar, which will also feature Beth Messersmith of MomsRising, Whitney Tucker of NC Child and Donna White of the North Carolina Partnership for Children/Smart Start to update us on the Think Babies™ NC family support policy agenda items. Register here.