The NCSL Blog


By Alison May

Did you know: NCSL’s Children and Families team is expanding. Our Denver-based team is now 11 people strong with Riley Sawyer and Rich Williams joining recently. Sawyer is already supporting meeting planning and other critical functions, and Williams will expand our work on family economic success.

Child eating watermelonNCSL’s Children and Families Program covers many human services issues, including child support and family law, child welfare, early care and education, family economic success, housing and homelessness. For more about our program, visit us online.

Upcoming Webinar

Register now for the March 14 webinar Extending Child Support Cooperation Requirements: The State Perspective. Join us at 2 p.m. EDT to learn from state legislators and child support policy experts about child support cooperation requirements. Topics covered will include state implementation challenges and solutions, current research and new research called for in the 2018 farm bill. This webinar is cosponsored by NCSL and Mathematica.

NCSL Resources

Early Care and Education Update

The winter edition of NCSL’s early care and education update features recent NCSL products, highlights of introduced legislation, information related to early learning-focused departments created through legislation, an update about NCSL’s 2019 Early Learning Fellows program and resources from across the field.

Child Welfare Champions Corner

Champions Corner highlights legislators who are leading the way on child welfare policy innovations in their states. In this edition, Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Ky.) talks about Kentucky’s Child Welfare Oversight Advisory Committee, and Senator Sara Gelser (D-Ore.) explains the value of Oregon’s Family First Implementation and Policy Work Group.

Helping Babies and Toddlers Thrive: A Look at Recent State Legislation

This brief highlights the role of legislators and how some policymakers are thinking about infants and toddlers in their state. Legislators across the country have considered a range of legislation to improve services and supports for infants, toddlers and their families. The brief highlights legislation related to quality, affordable child care; paid family leave; home visiting; and access to nutritional foods. This brief was made possible with funding from ZERO TO THREE as part of Think Babies™, which was developed to make the potential of every baby a national priority. Funding partners for Think Babies™ include the Perigee Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports the public education aspects of Think Babies. Learn more at

Podcast: Child Support Program Changes Result in Stronger Families

Listen in to this insightful conversation with officials from Colorado and Texas as they describe how their states are addressing the issues and concerns of those who owe child support payments and, as a result, are improving relationships between parents and their children.

From Pregnancy to Postpartum: The Effects of Maternal Depression on Mothers, Infants and Toddlers 

Maternal depression can have serious consequences for mothers and their children, especially infants and toddlers. Learn about the different types of maternal depression and state policy options to consider in this new brief

Washington State Early Learning Forum

In January, NCSL staff, members of the Washington Legislature and community stakeholders hosted an Early Learning Forum for new and returning legislators. This new web page highlights sessions from the day, including handouts and PowerPoint presentations. Read this blog post for a summary of the day.

National Reports and Resources

Child Care Crisis

A new report from ReadyNation highlights the economic impacts of the nation’s child care crisis on infants and toddlers, working parents, employers and taxpayers. The report pins the annual cost at $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity and revenue. ReadyNation and its membership of more than 2,000 of the nation’s top business leaders calls on lawmakers to consider protecting and expanding the access, affordability and quality of child care. ReadyNation is a program of the Council for a Strong America.

State of Babies Yearbook 2019

The first-of-its-kind State of Babies Yearbook provides a snapshot of how babies are faring nationally and in individual states by looking across nearly 60 indicators and policies. The yearbook was produced by ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends.

Alison May is a research analyst with NCSL’s Children and Families Program. She covers early care and education issues.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.