National prenatal-to-three policy initiative established at UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

A new prenatal-to-three policy initiative in the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will be a resource for state leaders as they develop and implement evidence-informed policies that improve outcomes for all infants, toddlers and their families.

Research overwhelmingly shows that the period from prenatal development to age 3 lays the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. Limited exposure to adversity and the presence of safe, stable, loving relationships are the keys to healthy early development — yet this period is often challenging for parents, and families can benefit from a strong early childhood system of care to help their children thrive. While most state leaders understand the importance of investing in children's earliest years, policymakers, advocates, funders and practitioners rarely have the opportunity to work collaboratively with researchers to better understand how to prioritize policies that strengthen prenatal-to-3 systems of care and reduce disparities.


"The LBJ School is committed to improving outcomes for all infants, toddlers and their families by advancing knowledge that can serve as a guide to policymakers and leaders. CFRP's new initiative is a part of the LBJ School's new strategic approach toward integrating our efforts to maximize social policy impact." —LBJ School Dean Angela Evans

Led by Cynthia Osborne, associate dean for academic strategies and director of the Child and Family Research Partnership at the LBJ School, the initiative will bridge research, policy and practice by helping state leaders and advocates translate complex academic research, interpret often nuanced program evaluations, and apply these information to policy implementation. It will also facilitate ongoing conversations between those who conduct early childhood research and those who develop and implement policies that strengthen the earliest years of a child's life.

"The LBJ School is committed to improving outcomes for all infants, toddlers and their families by advancing knowledge that can serve as a guide to policymakers and leaders," said Angela Evans, dean of the LBJ School. "CFRP's new initiative is a part of the LBJ School's new strategic approach toward integrating our efforts to maximize social policy impact. I am grateful to Dr. Cynthia Osborne and the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation for leading and launching this important work."

The initiative will collaborate with early childhood leaders from across the country to provide an annual Prenatal-to-Three State Policy Roadmap to help states build effective systems of support. Each year, it will work closely with state leaders to measure progress on prenatal-to-three (PN-3) policy development and will offer support for improved implementation of policies and programs to strengthen outcomes for children and families. The roadmap will also serve as a resource for advocates to make the case for evidence-informed, cost-effective policies.


"We will convene state leaders, advocates and researchers to provide evidence-informed guidance as states develop and improve policies to effectively support infants, toddlers and their families during this sensitive period, promoting healthy beginnings, strengthening families and providing quality care environments." —Dr. Cynthia Osborne

"We will convene state leaders, advocates and researchers to provide evidence-informed guidance as states develop and improve policies to effectively support infants, toddlers and their families during this sensitive period, promoting healthy beginnings, strengthening families and providing quality care environments," Osborne said. "I am proud to be leading such an ambitious effort that places accessible, comprehensive and reliable evidence at the center of the conversation on the development of policies that lay the essential foundation for later success in school, career and life."

The prenatal-to-three policy initiative's work will be guided by advisory groups purposefully comprised of experts from across sectors and across disciplines. The National Advisory Council will inform the development of the PN-3 State Policy Roadmap and foster dialogue among scholars, practitioners, state leaders, advocates and funders. The UT Austin Scholars Group reflects the depth of research excellence at the University and includes scholars from the LBJ School of Public Affairs; Dell Medical School-Pediatrics and Population Health; Education-Psychology; Liberal Arts-Sociology, Natural Science-Human Development and Family Sciences; and Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

The prenatal-to-three policy initiative was made possible by initial support from the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

Additional information is online at http://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu.

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National Advisory Council members to date:

  • Christina Altmayer — vice president of programs, First 5 LA
  • Joia Crear-Perry, M.D. — founder and president, National Birth Equity Collaborative
  • Libby Doggett, Ph.D. — former deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning, U.S. Department of Education
  • Greg Duncan, Ph.D. — Professor of Education, University of California at Irvine
  • Janet Froetscher — president, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Janis Gonzales, M.D. — bureau chief and medical director for the Family Health Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health
  • A.J. Griffin — former Oklahoma state senator
  • Iheoma Iruka, Ph.D. — chief research innovation officer and director of the Center for Early Education Evaluation, HighScope Educational Research Foundation
  • Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D. — Alison Richman Professor of Children and Families, University of Maryland School of Social Work
  • Ruth Kagi — former Washington state representative
  • John King, J.D., Ph.D. — president and CEO, The Education Trust
  • David Lakey, M.D. — vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer, The University of Texas System
  • Joan Lombardi, Ph.D. — director, Early Opportunities LLC
  • Michael Lu, M.D. — dean, University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health
  • Tammy Mann, Ph.D. — president and CEO, The Campagna Center
  • Ron Mincy, Ph.D. — Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice, Columbia University
  • Geoff Nagle, Ph.D. — president and CEO, Erikson Institute
  • Jessie Rasmussen — president, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
  • Jack Shonkoff, M.D. — founding director, Harvard's Center on the Developing Child
  • Margaret Spellings — president and CEO, Texas 2036
  • Jim Spurlino — president and owner, Spurlino Materials
  • David Willis, M.D. — senior fellow, the Center for the Study of Social Policy

 

UT Austin Scholars Group:

  • Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D. (Chair) — LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Sarah Kate Bearman, Ph.D. — College of Education, Educational Psychology; Dell Medical School, Psychology
  • Esther Calzada, Ph.D. — Steve Hicks School of Social Work
  • Frances Champagne, Ph.D. — College of Liberal Arts, Psychology
  • Robert Crosnoe, Ph.D. — College of Liberal Arts, Sociology
  • Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph.D. — College of Natural Science, Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Tara Greendyk, M.D. — Dell Medical School, Pediatrics
  • Mark Hayward, Ph.D. — College of Liberal Arts, Sociology
  • Michael Hole, M.D., M.B.A. — Dell Medical School, Pediatrics and Population Health; LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Jose Rubén Parra-Cardona, Ph.D. — Steve Hicks School of Social Work
  • Lourdes Rodríguez, Dr.PH. — Dell Medical School, Population Health