Dauphin County has been selected to join a national initiative focused on child development from birth to age 3, organizers announced this week. As part of this initiative, the community will develop innovative local solutions that give infants — like the 4,380 at-risk children ages 0-3 living 200% below the federal poverty level in Dauphin County — a healthy start at birth.
Leading national organizations will work with a total of 29 communities nationwide, including Dauphin County and Baltimore. The National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, Center for the Study of Social Policy, National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and StriveTogether each selected community partners that are demonstrating a commitment to ensuring children have a strong start in life. The partnership is funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI), a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.
The National Association of Counties will work with eight counties across the country, including Dauphin, to focus on child development from birth to age 3. The National League of Cities will work with Baltimore and five other cities nationwide. Partner organizations will equip communities with tools to strengthen early childhood systems and share best practices with other cities, counties and states. In turn, communities will share resources that will drive policies and make the case for public and private investment in core services for infants and toddlers.
Research shows investments in the first three years of life, when a child’s brain develops faster than at any other time period, are most critical in helping more children become more confident, empathetic, contributing members of their communities.
“County leaders leave no stone unturned in pursuit of our goal to build healthy, vibrant, safe communities for our residents – and the best path to success starts early,” said Matthew Chase, executive director, National Association of Counties. “With the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, we will strengthen early childhood systems and help to build brighter futures for kids today.”