Early Childhood Education
National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)
The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is the nation’s leading public policy center dedicated to promoting the economic security, health, and well-being of low-income families and children in the United States. Founded in 1989 as a division of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, NCCP is a nonpartisan, public interest research organization. Using research to inform policy and practice, NCCP seeks to advance family-oriented solutions and the strategic use of public resources at the state and national levels to ensure that the next generation of families will be economically secure, healthy, and nurturing, and have children who thrive.
NCCP put the issue of young children in poverty on the nation’s conscience with the publication in 1990 of Five Million Children—A Statistics Profile of Our Poorest Young Citizens. In the ensuing decade, NCCP demonstrated what a difference a state makes to the economic and emotional well-being of young children through its biennial publication: Map and Track: State Initiatives for Young Children and Families. NCCP’s 1999 book: Lives on the Line: American Families and the Struggle to Make Ends Meet, shattered stereotypes by describing the every day struggles of ten individual families.
As NCCP entered its second decade, the focus has expanded to include the plight of low-income families living on the edge, often a paycheck away from poverty, and the most vulnerable in society: infants, toddlers, and their families facing multiple risks for negative child development, challenging behaviors, and lack of success in school. NCCP believes that public policies can make a difference. Just as innovative policies dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly, so too can they improve the future of our nation’s children and families.
NCCP works to address the following challenges, using knowledge gained from research:
• Make work pay
• Provide nurturing environments for preschoolers while their parents work
• Secure adequate health care for our nation’s families
• Lift up the most vulnerable among us
NCCP addresses the specific needs of policymakers, practitioners and advocates, and the media. For policymakers, NCCP provides the right information to make good decisions, as they seek solutions to promote the health and successful development of children. For practitioners and advocates, NCCP highlights emerging challenges and offers insights about how to turn research into practice. For the media, NCCP works to uncover facts, identify trends, and analyze policy developments. This effort helps the media report on the realities faced by low-income children and families in the United States and make the links between poverty and a wide range of social issues, such as early childhood development, immigration, and mental health.
NCCP’s Web site, www.nccp.org, provides the following tools, topics, and resources to put research to work for children and families.
• Fact sheets provide up-to-date state, regional, and national demographic information as well as rapid analyses of emerging issues.
• Issue briefs synthesize research, policy analysis, and on-the-ground knowledge in ways that help move state and local agendas. Topics include family economic security, early care and learning, health and mental health, and early childhood development.
• State date tools include the Family Resource Simulator to calculate family resources and expenses as earnings increase, taking public benefits into account; State Profiles for information on policy choices, demographics, and economic condition; and Data Wizards that allow users to build custom tables and compare states.
• Other online resources include NCCP’s hosting of Early Care and Education Research Connections, which provides policymakers and researchers with easily accessible information about research, datasets, and instruments, and offers user- friendly syntheses and fact sheets to improve early care and education.
Web Site: National Center for Children in Poverty, www.nccp.org.
Carole J. Oshinsky