The NCSL Blog


By Alison May

DID YOU KNOW: NCSL’s Children and Families team has added another early childhood expert? Melissa Mincic joined NCSL this month as a senior policy specialist. She has an impressive background in applied research, translating research to practice, and developing and delivering educational initiatives for adult learners.

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 NCSL's Human Services page.

NCSL Resources


  • Legislative Summary 2019 Early Care and Education Legislative Activity Report: NCSL’s Early Care and Education team tracks introduced and enacted legislation related to child care, prekindergarten, home visiting, parent engagement and support, governance structures and financing of programs. In 2019, state lawmakers introduced at least 806 bills, with 95 bills in 32 states signed into law. Learn more about what happened around the country in this annual summary.
  • Information Clearinghouse | Supporting Foster Parents: Foster parents are instrumental in the lives of children in their care. They must be prepared to address children’s physical, social and emotional needs after what may have been a traumatic removal from their home. Once in their care, foster parents must enroll the children in school; provide a safe and healthy living environment; navigate visits with biological parents and siblings; get them to and from counseling sessions; and manage their daily activities. Check out NCSL’s new webpage to learn what individual states are doing to support foster parents.


  • Upcoming | Environmental Concerns in Child Care Settings: Register and join us Friday, March 20 at 2 p.m. EDT to learn more about the 13 states where child care facilities are required to perform environmental tests for lead-based paint, lead in water, asbestos and radon. Explore the more than 40 states that require fire, health or building code inspections. With young children in the United States spending 40% of their time in licensed child care facilities, states are enacting laws and policies to limit environmental hazards and promote better health and safety in child care settings.
  • Archived | Prenatal-to-Three: Translating the Science and Evidence to State Policy: The science is clear that prenatal to age 3 is the most sensitive period for a child’s developing brain and body, building the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. Watch this archived webinar to learn about strengthening prenatal-to-three systems of care with evidence-informed state policies and how to collaborate with the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.


  • Early Care and Education Update: In this winter issue NCSL shares recent publications, resources from our prenatal-to-three policy symposium in Austin, the 2020 Early Learning Fellows program, and a handful of resources from the field.
  • Child Welfare Legislative Policy Newsletter: In this edition catch up on developments related to the Family First Prevention Services Act, including a summary of the new Family First Transition Act; review examples of state Family First prevention plans, and take a look at work being done across the states.
  • Child Support Digest: In this edition find NCSL’s summary of 2019 enacted legislation, a new report on behavioral interventions for child support services and a 2019 report on the effectiveness of child support enforcement tools.

Additional Resources

To Reduce Child Poverty, Increase EITC Participation
Source: Child Trends | March 2020

The federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) is designed to help working families support themselves and their children while also encouraging workforce participation and is considered one of the most effective programs for reducing child poverty and promoting economic mobility among low-income families. Read more.

In addition, more than half the states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and some municipalities have EITCs to support the economic security of low-income working families, primarily those with children. Learn what states and the federal government are doing to expand EITCs for childless workers with this December 2019 LegisBrief from NCSL.

Alison May is a policy associate 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.