Human Services

Human Services

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Young Boy and Girl sitting at a desk reading togetherAre you looking for a quick scan of the hot topics related to early learning? Look no further then the recently updated Early Childhood 101 page. Here you can learn about the science of brain development, governance structures, family supports and parent engagements, plus so much more.

Read our recent blog post Need an Early Childhood Policy Brush-Up? Read On!







Kids holding thumbs upLegislators continue to grapple with issues related to child support and family law in the 2014 legislative session. So far, 56 bills and resolutions have been enacted in 27 states. Check out the new 2014 Child Support and Family Law Legislative Enactments page for summaries of the legislation that has been enacted (so far!).




Legislative Summit circle logoThank you to everyone who attended the 2014 Legislative Summit in Minneapolis. We hope the Summit offered ideas and solutions to take on the critical issues in your state. Here are some of the resources we think willl be useful as you head home.

Summit Online Resources
Streaming Sessions Archive
Photos From Summit
Videos From Summit




Nurse visiting with a mother and babyIn May 2014, NCSL surveyed 20 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2014-15 state appropriations for various early care and education programs (child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related programs). Preliminary findings are available now, the full report will be available October 2014.









What happens to children -- especially in their early years--echoes over the long haul across a broad range of social policy areas. How children fare today will be felt in all parts of society--in schools, the economy, health, welfare and criminal justice systems. In addition, polls suggest that voters are dissatisfied over governmental responses to the needs of children and families. To address these concerns and help legislators support families in their communities, NCSL tracks state and federal policies and programs in three key areas:  early childhood care and education, welfare and poverty, and child welfare. In addition, we offer resources on child support, marriage, domestic violence and family law. The human services federal affairs staff represents state legislatures on the full range of federal human service issues in Washington, D.C.

NCSL staff can provide comprehensive, thorough, timely and in-depth information on critical human service policy issues. Staff working on human services includes the Children and Families Program in Denver and the human services federal affairs staff in Washington, D.C. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families.


The Health and Human Services Committee is one of eight NCSL Standing Committees that educates Congress and federal agencies about state concerns and serves as a forum for state legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information regarding programs and initiatives in other states. In particular, this committee has jurisdiction over state federal health and humans services programs, legislation, regulations and policies.


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NCSL Summit Resources


  • Extending Foster Care Beyond 18

    Legislation from 2009 through 2014 with regard to the extension of foster care to age 18, including independent living services and reentry.

  • Early Learning Fellows Class Three

    The Early Learning Fellows program is a new endeavor designed to support legislators and legislative staff who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. The program includes face to face meetings, virtual meetings, idea sharing and newsletters.

  • Foster Care Bill of Rights

    Foster parent bill of rights, foster children bill of rights and the reasonable and prudent parenting standard are discussed along with how to provide the most normal life for children in foster care.

We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

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