A New Name for a New Reality: The Ounce is Now Start Early Read More

Happy baby smiling

Policy & Advocacy

At Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce), policy and advocacy are integral parts of our mission to ensure young children and their families have access to quality, equitable early learning and care.

Our Policy Agenda

Our Start Early Policy Agenda lays out our vision for policy and systems change that help create early childhood systems that promote quality and effectively meet the needs of the children and families who need them most. Grounded in our decades of work with children, families, the workforce, and systems leaders, as well as our efforts to advance equity, the agenda articulates views on critical early childhood issues and the policy levers we aim to pull at the community, state and federal levels across three areas: next generation program quality; building connected, comprehensive and equitable systems; and elevating family voice and the role of families.

Priority Areas

Our goal is to create effective, equitable and interconnected educational opportunities for our youngest learners and their families. We do that by advocating for robust policies and programs that prioritize and provide prenatal care, early learning, early intervention and other health and family supports.

Program Quality

We promote and enhance policies and systems that support high-quality programs, which are culturally and linguistically responsive, grounded in parent voice and result in improved child and family outcomes.

Learn More

Young child participating in 2019 Illinois Advocacy Day

Comprehensive Systems

Our advisory and advocacy work supports connected, comprehensive early childhood systems that provide all children and their families with equitable access to an uninterrupted continuum of high-quality services from before birth and through age 5.

Learn More

Mother embracing young child

The Role of Families

We engage families and elevate parent and caregiver voices to ensure our policy and advocacy efforts lead to early learning programs and systems that are accessible and truly responsive to the needs and desires of families.

Learn More

Young children doing activity in classroom

Connecting Communities

We work in partnership with other organizations, peers and advocates to create stronger and better-coordinated early childhood systems.

Learn More

Close up of child in classroom

Our Work

Building on our expertise from decades of grassroots advocacy in Illinois, we work at local, state and federal levels with advocates, government systems, program leaders and other partners in the field.

Our Approach

Build It Back Better

Start Early is partnering with early childhood stakeholders nationwide to identify the critical questions that systems and services must ask as we rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child smiling close up
corner square pie shape-grid
Policy & Advocacy

Resources & News

Learn more about our work, access relevant resources and learn how to get involved below.