Coming Together During COVID-19: Early Childhood Systems Supporting Families.
McCarthy, Kyle. O'Connor, Cailin. Cohen, Steve.
Center for the Study of Social Policy (Washington, D.C.)
Published: October 2020
Center for the Study of Social Policy
1575 Eye Street N.W., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
This brief outlines the ways that local early childhood systems enabled communities to respond creatively and efficiently to the COVID-19 pandemic, based on interviews with members of the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC). It begins by explaining EC-LINC is a network of partners working to support families and improve results for young children in communities across the country. It then describes the four Building Blocks of an Early Learning Community: community leadership, commitment, and public will; quality services that work for all young children and their families; neighborhoods where families can thrive; and policies that support and are responsive to families. The response of EC-LINC communities to the COVID-19 pandemic is reviewed and structures supporting a coordinated response are highlighted. The importance of flexibility made possible by trusting relationships is then emphasized, and strategies used by EC-LINC communities to assess community needs are explained. The brief concludes with information on the efforts to address racial inequities and build a better, more just early childhood systems.
early childhood education; COVID-19; early intervention programs; community based services; disaster response; remote service delivery; policy formation; interagency collaboration; family support systems