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.
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.
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.
- Norton Sound
- New Castle and Wilmington
- Western Sussex
- Western New York
- Choctaw County
- McCurtain County
- Pushmataha County
- Geary County
- Montgomery County
- San Juan
- South Salt Lake
Project Aim: Thriving at Three
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
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.
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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.
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
A 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
A 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
A 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.
A roadmap created by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) for collaboration among Title V, home visiting, and early childhood systems programs.
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.
North Carolina’s Strategy to Address Social Determinants of Health
North Carolina is developing a system that connects individuals with resources to address social, economic and environmental barriers to their health—such as housing, food insecurity, and transportation. By putting funding and policy efforts into addressing social determinants of health, North Carolina is building a system that can improve health outcomes for children and families across the state.
Providing Developmental Screenings and Services in Rural Communities
Families in rural communities across the country face unique barriers to supporting their children’s developmental health and well-being. Here, learn how community coalitions in Alaska are connecting families to needed supports and services, so more rural children can start school ready to succeed.
How States Can Better Support Community Early Childhood Efforts
Providing families with comprehensive services that actually fit their needs starts by elevating the work at the community level to inform policy and program improvements. New York’s approach to synergizing state and community work offers a valuable framework for other states to take up in their own systems-change efforts.
Building an Early Childhood Community Coalition
A coalition of diverse stakeholders has proven to be a catalyst for early childhood improvement in Chelsea, Massachusetts, helping them align messages, raise awareness, and collect more robust and relevant data. Ready to build one in your community? Find out how here.
Five Strategies for Engaging Family Partners
Only families truly understand their own unique circumstances and needs, and only families can tell their stories. This is one reason why engaging family partners is critical for any improvement effort. How do we get families to the table though? How do we engage with them meaningfully as equal partners in improvement? Below, we’ve compiled five strategies for partnership shared by our family partners.
Taking a Community-Based Approach to Early Childhood Systems-Change
A community-based partnership in Liberty City, FL works directly with the families who are most isolated from support. Discover more about the partnerships they've developed and the young lives they've changed.
A Grandfather’s Passion to Transform Early Childhood Systems
David Armstrong's grandson was born into a neighborhood where drug use was common, and poverty and gang violence were pervasive. He was born into a home where his parents struggled with substance abuse and where their fighting sometimes ended in domestic violence. He is one of too many children born into circumstances that illustrate why families need better supports and better systems. Here, Armstrong shares their story.
Supporting Comprehensive Screening Systems, from Early Childhood through Adolescence
From empowering parents to consolidating data, a statewide, birth to 5 comprehensive early childhood system has powerful potential. A community-based team in Delaware is showing what this might look like. Find out more here.
Launch an Early Childhood Parent Academy
Interested in developing free, accessible lessons that empower parents around early childhood development? An early childhood parent academy—a structured set of courses covering key topic areas that parents need to know about early childhood development—does just that. Click in for a curriculum and strategies on how to launch one in your state.
Empowering Parents to Improve Early Childhood Systems
We know first-hand that parent partners can make a big difference in improving children's health outcomes. Here, we’re highlighting one parent partner's story and providing strategies for states interested in putting parent support and parent-partnerships at the forefront of their early childhood improvement efforts.
From 50th in the Nation to a National Success. Delaware Improves Early Childhood Outcomes
Right now, more than 15 percent of children miss out on early developmental screenings and risk their future health. Find out what Delaware is doing to prioritize screenings and make sure Delaware children start school healthy and prepared.
Creating a Structure for Improvement in Complex Systems
Positively intervening in early childhood development means creating a system that supports the people at all levels, from those working in healthcare and social services settings, to daycare and community support networks, to those in the child’s home. These three essential strategies can help develop such a system, close the gap between research and practice, and take positive steps toward change.