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Child Health and Early Childhood

Early childhood is a period of rapid brain development, physical growth, and learning—a time of both vulnerability and opportunity. This developmental period—more specifically birth to age 3—creates the foundation for healthy physical, social-emotional, and behavioral development, and also for academic success well into adulthood.

All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential yet lack of access to affordable health care, as well as exposure to early adversity, toxic stress, and trauma pose serious threats to the health and well-being of many young children that can have a lasting and profound impact on their lives, including their long-term health.

Health care systems can play a pivotal role in supporting young children and families, especially now, as policymakers are looking at new opportunities to leverage Medicaid and to transform how we deliver and pay for care, balancing the goals of promoting more high-value care, improving quality, and reducing costs.

Families USA provides policy research and analysis that helps policymakers and partners better understand the impact of health policy proposals on young children and families, bringing to light promising approaches at the health system and state levels that can be scaled to support those who experience compounding stressors, improve systems and change community conditions so that all children and families can thrive.