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About Our Policy Work


CCI's experience, expertise, and interaction with families and early education programs and professionals shapes our 360 degree view of how to support families as they seek early learning opportunities for their children. CCI believes all children have a right to start life with the best possible foundation of early care, learning and health. This informs our efforts to improve policies through providing data, policy reports, and effective coalition building. Join us and learn about our current policy work below.

Make Quality Early Learning Top Priority in State Budget!



Too Many Children Left Behind

State budget negotiations are underway - but so far, too many children and families are left behind. The Governor's proposed budget includes no new funding for four-year-olds waiting for a full-day Pre-K seat. Nor does it include any new funding for Child Care. We need to build change, we can all help by continuing to build a voice on expanding investment in high-quality early care and learning!

Many of you have already made a difference, by contacting your legislators and letting them know we need expanded investment in early care and learning. Bot the Assembly and the Senate have proposed additional funding in their budget bills.  But there is still work to do.  Right now, 62% of the state’s four-year-olds promised a seat in full-day Pre-K are still waiting for one, including 51,000 children in high need communities. In addition, a disturbing 78% of children eligible for subsidized Child Care are still waiting to be served. 

Visit today to learn more about what you can do to be sure that the additional investments are included in the enacted state budget. 

"Investing in high-quality early learning is a winning strategy that will significantly close the achievement gap. It gives our youngest learners, particularly those most at risk, the opportunity to enter school fully prepared," said Nancy Kolben, Executive Director of the Center for Children's Initiatives. 

 Pre-K for All 

CCI joined with Campaign for Educational Equity (CEE) and in November released our latest proposal for ensuring adequate, appropriate, and stable funding for pre-K in New York State, Securing the Future of New York's Children: Taking the Final Steps Toward Truly Universal Prekindergarten. The proposal promotes a high-quality program model, along with investments in systems support and infrastructure necessary to support a core educational service, with quality teachers who are appropriately compensated and supported and with the infrastructure required to sustain Pre-K on a sustainable basis. The proposal included a detailed 8-year phase-in plan to establish a single, stable, transparent and appropriately funded prekindergarten system.


 Click here for the full report
 Click here for the highlights 


Securing the Future proposal builds on CCI and CEE's Statewide Roadmap for making Pre-K truly universal released in 2013. The 2013 Roadmap includes a comprehensive appendix of research on Pre-K policies including universal vs. targeted and outcomes for children.


 CCI's School Community Partnership Project Gains Momentum


CCI’s school-community partnership project made great strides this fall, helping to inform the work at the local, state and federal level to align early childhood programs in the community with the traditional K-12 public education system. CCI’s new policy briefs, a review of research and field experiences in New York’s Pre-K program and a Snapshot of Trends as Pre-K Expands were shared at the meeting of the National Alliance for Early Success in Seattle in September, which featured CCI’s executive director as a panelist on Pre-K expansion.  CCI also drew on the findings to inform our work with state education officials as we supported their work on the state’s application for a federal Preschool Expansion grant. Our work to identify promising practices, challenges and policy changes that can strengthen school-community partnerships also helped inform work by advocates across the state to better define the role of advisory groups and community review of Pre-K implementation as the program continues to expand. CCI continued to champion key policy recommendations, such as the need for equitable resources or programs and staff in all settings and the need to strengthen professional development for leaders in both early childhood and public schools.


Community-Level Challenges in Implementing
A Mixed Delivery Pre-Kindergarten System: 
A Brief Review of Research and Field Experience

School Community Partnerships
in New York State:
Snapshot of Trends as Pre-K Expands

Other Resources to Strengthen School Community Ties:

Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice - Executive Summary

 Ready to Launch: New York City's Implementation Plan for Free, High-Quality, Full-Day Universal Pre-Kindergarten 

The City released its implementation plan for free, high-quality, full-day universal pre-K for NYC’s 4 year olds. The plan would reach 53,000 students by September and include a focus on quality, additional assistance for children whose primary language is not English, and increased family support in high-need areas.

Click here to read the full plan.

Ready to Launch


 Ready to Launch: Progress Report on Program and Space Application

Since the release of the “Ready to Launch” plan in January, the city has made significant progress toward the goals of creating thousands of additional free, full-­‐day pre-­‐kindergarten seats, and creating the systems needed to raise quality throughout the system.


View the full report here





President Obama Unveils Ambitious Plans for Early Education  


Following his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama laid out a comprehensive plan for early childhood education for children from birth to school age. The President's official proposal contains "a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning." 

The President's plan calls for:  
  • High-Quality Preschool for Every Child
  • Growing the Supply of Effective Early Learning Opportunities for Young Children
  • Extending and Expanding Evidence-Based, Voluntary Home Visiting

See the full White House Plan for Early Education! 


The Center for Children's Initiatives applauds President Obama's new plan and recognizes it makes the decisions that our state makes in early childhood education all the more important. Since President Obama's announcement, the press has been championing early education and CCI has compiled a collection of the most provoking articles called The Case for Early Childhood Education: Voices In The Media. We invite to you to the full articles and to join us in championing the Governor's plan and make sure New York is positioned to take advantage of the new federal resources. Use the 2014 Winning Beginning NY Legislative Agenda to advocate for state investments in early learning. 


 obama preschool

Read CCI's full response to the President's plan for early education



Education Reform Commission Recommends Full Day Pre-K; Earns Praise from Early Ed. Advocates



Governor Cuomo’s New New York Education Reform Commission received praise from early care and education advocates, including the Ready for Kindergarten, Ready for College Campaign , a coalition of early childhood, education and community organizations, for recommending the expansion of quality pre-kindergarten programs through the creation of a statewide full day pre-kindergarten program. The new full day pre-K funding, combined with an initiative on program quality, would be the first state sponsored full-day pre-kindergarten program in the New York. 

“The Education Reform Commission's has taken an important step in expanding opportunities for New York State's youngest learners. High quality Pre-k is a stepping stone to K and sets children on the right trajectory for school success and beyond. Quality full day Pre K is a proven strategy for improving student outcomes. The Commission is to be commended for giving quality early learning the priority it deserves,” said Nancy Kolben, Executive Director, Center for Children’s Initiatives.

To view the full report, click here. 

Click here to read CCI's testimony at the State Education Hearings.

 2011 CCI Primer    

The Primer, CCI’s signature publication is the only comprehensive, independent look at funding, enrollment, capacity and affordability of early care and learning in all settings in the city, with the latest data on Pre-K, Head Start, Child Care and subsidies for families on public assistance. The Primer serves as a critical resource for policymakers, the media and advocates seeking to expand early learning opportunities for young children across the city. The data is drawn from official public reports and documents, as well as special studies commissioned just for the new edition of the CCI Primer. The data released in the latest edition of the CCI Primer provide a picture of the growing squeeze on low-income working parents. The report underscores the need to improve both the supply and quality of early childhood programs – as well as the need for a more comprehensive vision for quality early childhood education and a coherent approach to managing the $1.2 billion in public funding now invested in the services.     

For more information or questions, contact Betty Holcomb 212-381-0009 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .    

2011 CCI Primer Highlights-  Provides a picture of early care and education services throughout the city who uses it, how it is funded. The CCI Primer identifies the key trends in funding, enrollment, capacity and access impacting families and children as well as service providers.  

Driving Effective Policies

The Center for Children’s Initiatives (CCI) believes all children have a right to start life with the best possible foundation, and we provide policymakers with recommendations rooted in real life insight on the ever-shifting terrain of families’ needs and those of early learning services.

A child’s earliest experiences lay the foundation for all later learning and success. CCI’s experience, expertise, and interaction with families and early education programs and professionals shapes our 360° view of how to support families as they seek early learning opportunities for their children. This informs our efforts to improve policies through providing data, policy reports and effective coalition building.

CCI publishes CCI Primer: Early Care and Education in New York City, which identifies trends in funding, enrollment, capacity and access to early care and learning. CCI sees challenges from multiple angles, recognizing the changes that must happen.

CCI works in close collaboration with other advocates, researchers, parents and policymakers to promote better policies. CCI shares experience and practical know-how with other organizations and policymakers to develop a dialogue for change.

CCI is a co-convener of WinningBeginningNY, the State’s early care and learning coalition. CCI is represented on the New York State’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, which is charged with developing a coherent strategy for early childhood services in New York State and a member of the steering committee for the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care in the city.

CCI Promotes Effective Investments
CCI also partners with national Advocacy coalitions and funders to keep up with the latest research on early childhood development and best practices, as well as the latest research on how to take quality initiatives to scale. CCI has been a leading voice in promoting the expansion of the State’s Universal Pre-K initiative as an important new investment in early learning as well as investments to improve the quality and availability of services for babies and toddlers. CCI seeks to create a seamless, continuum of services for young children from birth to third grade, with high standards in all settings.