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Moving the Needle: How States Can Support More Inclusive Early Childhood Systems

Watch the recording of our April 2024 webinar which provides an overview of what state and local advocates need to know to advance inclusion for young children across early childhood systems.

Watch the recording of our April 23, 2024 webinar linked below and explore resources to create more equitable and inclusive early childhood systems for young children with disabilities and delays and their families.

The data is clear. While all children benefit from high quality inclusive early learning opportunities, less than half of children with disabilities and developmental delays actually access inclusive early learning opportunities . For children of color, this data is worse. TheU.S. Department of Education (ED) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have a “renewed commitment and urgency” in supporting equity and inclusion for young children with disabilities and developmental delays in early childhood programs.

In response, we hosted a discussion to dive deeper into this issue with a focus on the role of policy advocates. Our federal agency partners from the Administration for Children and Families in HHS and the Office of Special Education Programs in ED shared the federal government’s vision for inclusion and the important role advocates play to advance a more inclusive early childhood system. We also heard from parents impacted by this issue, Danielle and Ebonii, who highlighted the importance of inclusion for their young children and elevated the disparities families face. Lastly, we reviewed key elements of the federal Policy Statement: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs and discussed various ways advocates can push for inclusion. The discussion featured a story from our partners at Early Choices and the Governor’s Early Childhood Transition who, in collaboration with Start Early, are standing up a new early childhood agency. They shared a unique approach to advance an inside-outside systems change for inclusion. Check out the resources linked below for more information.

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