The NCSL Blog


DID YOU KNOW? The number of children in the United States is projected to increase from 73.4 million in 2018 to 78.2 million in 2050. This number determines the demand for schools, health care and other services our society depends on, according to the report “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.”

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 security, housing and homelessness. For more about our program, visit us at

Upcoming Webinars

  • Register and join us on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. ET for a webinar launch of a new toolkit for policymakers interested in uniting across all three branches of government to change the way child- and family-serving systems operate. The Three-Branch Toolkit contains actionable strategies for states interested in making a coordinated, nonpartisan, cross-jurisdictional effort to improve outcomes for children and families.
  • Register and join us Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. ET as Kim Keating, a researcher at ZERO TO THREE, explores the State of Babies Yearbook. The first of its kind, the yearbook includes 60 indicators across three policy domains: good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences for very young children. The webinar will provide an understanding of the data and how it could support legislative activities

NCSL Resources

  • New NCSL Policy Brief | Beyond the ABCs and 123s: Social and Emotional Development in Early Learning Settings: Healthy social and emotional development is rooted in nurturing and responsive relationships with family members and other caregivers, including those who provide care in early learning settings. State legislatures often consider policies and resources to support school readiness. Increasingly, legislation to enhance social and emotional well-being in early learners is seen as a crucial component to promoting success in school. Learn more in NCSL’s latest brief.
  • New NCSL Podcast | Combatting Youth Homelessness Through State Policy: Tune in to NCSL’s latest podcast on youth homelessness with Patricia Julianelle from SchoolHouse Connection as she discusses some of the causes and consequences of youth homelessness, as well as policy options to consider to combat youth homelessness. In a recent study conducted by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, an estimated 4.2 million young people between the ages of 13 and 25 experienced some form of homelessness during the 12-month evaluation period. Youth homelessness is a complex issue, spanning human services, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, housing, transportation and other policy areas. Tune in to learn more about what states are doing to combat youth homelessness.
  • Meeting Recap and Resources | Kansas Legislators Convene for Early Learning Forum: Earlier this month, approximately 60 members of the Kansas Legislature, key stakeholders and NCSL staff participated in an Early Learning Forum for legislators and legislative staff. This new webpage highlights sessions from the day, including handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

National Resources

  • County Explorer Online Database Now Available: The National Association of Counties Research Foundation recently launched County Explorer, an online database searchable by geography and topic. The website provides easy access to visual data on indicators of population well-being across housing, transportation, employment, infrastructure, health and many more topics relevant to state policymakers.
  • Funding gaps pose a significant challenge to making high-quality early care and education a reality for more children. A new report by the BUILD Initiative explores seven types of taxes and offers guiding questions for state and local leaders to consider as they pursue public funding options for early care and education.

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

Email Alison

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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.