Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (ECCS CoIIN)

A multiyear initiative to improve early childhood service systems in 12 states to increase age-appropriate developmental skills among 3-year-old children and reduce developmental disparities.

Keep scrolling, or use these quick links, to learn more.

Participating States | Project Aim | Health Equity Lens | Virtual Community | Helpful Resources | Webinars | Project Articles | Related Early Childhood Projects 


Status: Complete

August 2016 - August 2021

  • Who: Twelve states and their respective communities (see map), which will be comprised of community leaders, researchers, healthcare providers and family partners.
  • Funder: Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Partners on the project include: ZERO to THREE (ZTT), Applied Engineering Management Corporation (AEM), the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).
  • Our Role: Lead the NICHQ Coordinating Center for ECCS CoIIN to support state teams through quality improvement and innovation, using collaboration and rapid cycle testing to create new approaches that will enhance early childhood systems.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, check out our project flyer, driver diagram or email us at [email protected]

Participating States

Participating States

Teams are provided technical assistance and an online collaborative workplace (NICHQ's Collaboratory) to promote continuous communication, and a data dashboard to capture shared measures and track progress toward the common agenda. Click on the map below to see a list of participating communities in the 12 "Impact Grantee" states.

State Profiles Page 1

State Profiles

View the unique profiles of our 12 participating states. 

Project Map

Project Aim: Thriving at Three

The ECCS CoIIN aims to improve outcomes in population-based children’s developmental health and family well-being. Within five years of the program start, participating ECCS Impact Grantees will strive to show a 25 percent increase in age appropriate developmental skills among their communities’ 3-year-old children.
A collective impact approach by means of a backbone (hub) organization at the state and community level

Linked, aligned and coordinated systems with data infrastructure that promote communication, continuity and cross-sector collaboration

Advocacy and policy change at the local, state and federal level to support families and promote healthy child development
All ECCS Impact services provide the early identification of developmental needs

All ECCS Impact services promote developmental health and are available, accessible, high-quality, coordinated and useful to families

All ECCS Impact families and caregivers understand their important role in child development and engage in language rich, nurturing relationships

All ECCS Impact services address the social determinants of health and strengthen families and systems to mitigate risk and maximize healthy development
All ECCS Impact families understand their important role in child development with an awareness of community resources that support healthy child development
ECCS Impact communities will have capacities for data sharing and resources to promote the healthy development of all children
All ECCS Impact families will value, explore and utilize family and community resources that promote healthy child development
All ECCS Impact families when facing their ACE’s, current challenges and/or needs will access community resources and supports that address family stress and the social determinants of health
All ECCS Impact families with children birth through 3 are healthy, nurturing, safe and actively promoting the healthy development of their child
A high quality developmental health promotion system is available for all children and families in the ECCS Impact communities
ECCS Impact Grantee babies will be on track to achieve their 3 year old milestones

Equity Action Lens

Equity Action Lens

NICHQ is infusing its focus on health equity into the ECCS CoIIN initiative. This graphic, which we call the Equity Action Lens, shows the fusion of three perspectives essential to foster health equity: social determinants of health, life course perspective, and the social ecological model, which include multiple levels and sectors of social influence and support. The Equity Action Lens helped to guide the design of the theory of change for this initiative.


Join Our Virtual Community

Join Our Virtual Community

The ECCS CoIIN Collaboratory (CoLab) is a virtual place where ECCS CoIIN participants and stakeholders can share ideas and best practices, ask questions, and uncover useful tips to advance their change efforts.

Already a member?

Want to join? Submit a request for an account, and a site moderator will review and send you a welcome email with additional details once approved.

Align Strengths,
Launch a Movement

From education to healthcare to public policy, building an early childhood system means tapping a diverse set of stakeholders, each with valuable insight and expertise. Separately, each sector has limited reach. Together, they have unmatched potential. 

Interested in hearing from the ECCS CoIIN stakeholders about how they're aligning strengths to form a cohesive system? Watch this video from the teams and learn about the powerful partnerships they’ve developed. 

Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources

We've curated several resources for those working to improve early childhood systems:

  • The Integration of Early Childhood Data
    State profiles and a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education
  • Implementation of Young Child Wellness Strategies in a Unique Cohort of Local Communities
    report of lessons learned from Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health.
  • The Guide to Community Preventive Services
    A collection of evidence-based findings from the Community Preventive Services Task Force to improve health and prevent disease.
  • Achieving the Promise of a Bright Future
    policy brief from ZERO to THREE outlining recommended developmental screening of infants and toddlers.
  • From the Ground Up: Establishing Strong Core Policies for Infants, Toddlers and Families
    This resource describes the rationale for investing in programs that support children’s development in the earliest years of life.
  • Infant-Toddler State Self-Assessment Toolkit
    This toolkit is intended to help state policy leaders and advocates assess the current status of services for infants, toddlers and their families, and to set priorities for improvement.
  • Recommendations on Developmental Screening Follow-up Practices and Policies for Federal, State, and Community Level Stakeholders
    paper developed jointly with ZERO to THREE to support participating states and their respective communities in strengthening developmental screening and referral systems and practices.
  • Early Childhood Developmental Screening and Title V: Building Better Systems Issue Brief
    An issue brief developed by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) to help build better early childhood systems.
  • Roadmap
    roadmap created by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) for collaboration among Title V, home visiting, and early childhood systems programs.


Healthy Children clapping


Recent Webinars

Engaging Families from Diverse Backgrounds with Developmental Screening and Child Well-Being

Early childhood screenings, starting at 9 months, give children with disabilities the opportunity to thrive. At NICHQ, we're committed to helping improve access for all children. View our recent webinar to find out how to engage families from diverse backgrounds and improve screenings in your state. 


Early Childhood and Medicaid 101

Medicaid covers many of the children who could most benefit from better supports in early childhood, making it a vital resource for developmental health. Innovative changes in Medicaid payment mechanisms can help more children get the care they need. View our recent webinar to learn how Medicaid can be used to improve early childhood health and address disparities.

Toolkits and Guides

Assess and improve your early childhood systems using our helpful guides and toolkits.

  • The ECCS Policy Action Guide provides a process for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing policies that influence systemic improvements leading to improved development and health in infants and young children
  • The ECCS CoIIN Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool is a guide to help states and communities discuss and think about some of the elements involved in the ECCS CoIIN and determine next steps for sustaining the work.

Related Content

Project Articles

View all archive articles here