Equitable inclusion for young children with disabilities and developmental delays in early childhood opportunities is supported by both a human rights framework and evidence-based research. Being meaningfully included as a member of society is a human right that all children deserve and should be able to access. Additionally, there is clear research on the benefits of inclusion for both young children with disabilities and their typically developing peers in early childhood programs and services. Despite this, it is well documented that across the country, young children with disabilities and delays and their families continue to face challenges with accessing inclusive early childhood services individualized to their needs in all settings, particularly young children of color.
To address this, the Alliance for IDEA Policy Initiative and other national partners developed federal policy recommendations in 2022 to advance equity and inclusion for young children with disabilities and developmental delays across the early childhood system. In 2023, Start Early translated these federal recommendations into state policy opportunities, as states have flexibility to ensure equity and inclusion through state policy and financing mechanisms