States have long been innovation labs where policies are tested, measured, improved, and scaled. Coordinated by the Alliance for Early Success, Child Care NEXT is an initiative to support six states – Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia – that are ready to mount long-term, equity-driven campaigns to achieve transformative change in their child care systems. These six state campaigns are committed to a set of core principles, including centering racial equity and ensuring those who are most impacted by the work have a meaningful role in shaping the solution and campaign. These campaigns aim to put their states on the path to more affordable and high-quality child care systems that are equitable for families, providers, and the workforce – and in doing so, will test and refine needed solutions, and the pathway to win them, that can be replicated and scaled across the country.
The early childhood advocacy community has to move beyond tinkering around the edges. While we should always continue to push for incremental state funding increases and policy improvements, bold change will only come when we’ve built a powerful, diverse, and immovable constituency for young children’s well-being. We believe capacity, coalitions, power equity, and bold agendas are the only path to opportunity and support for every child in every state.