We insist on putting little kids first.

We research, then promote, policies and practices that will strengthen systems for children ages 0 to 5 in California.

What We Do

Recent Updates

New Blog

New Reports Describe State’s Early Intervention System for Infants and Toddlers

To date, advocates, policymakers, families, and other stakeholders have had few resources to understand how early intervention services work in California. To support filling this gap, California Budget and Policy Center released two new reports.

New Publication

Improving Racial Equity in Kindergarten Readiness Inventory Efforts

This brief summarizes a literature review and key informant interviews with KRI developers, early childhood advocates, educators, and researchers, and highlights four key considerations that may help local early childhood and education leaders, state policy makers and others create more equity-focused systems for California’s families.


Local Developmental Screening and Early Start Access Rates: A California Snapshot

In order to better understand the landscape of how counties are serving young children with developmental concerns, we did a deep dive into available data sources. The data uncover average developmental screening rates across the state, as well as the proportion of infants and toddlers accessing Early Start services (Part C) by regional center.


The Role of First 5s in Home Visiting: Innovations, Challenges, and Opportunities in California

The First 5 Center for Children’s Policy initiated a qualitative research project involving a series of interviews with 54 First 5s across the state. This paper presents the findings of these interviews and their implications for home visiting in California.


Proposal for an Early Childhood Health Services Initiative in California: An Opportunity to Expand Preventive Supports for Young Children

This concept paper explores California’s opportunity to improve the health and development of young children by leveraging the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Health Services Initiatives (HSIs).


Exploring Workforce Needs: Lessons Learned to Support Home Visitors

To understand home visitors’ workforce development needs, the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy commissioned ZERO TO THREE to conduct focus groups and surveys with home visitors who had participated in professional development opportunities. This brief explores the three key lessons that emerged from that research.

New Publication

The Road to Black Birth Justice

This report summarizes the findings of a multipart project that the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative conducted, in partnership with the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy, to understand the challenges and opportunities to improve the birth outcomes and experiences of Black people and their families in California.


New Children’s Medi-Cal Behavioral Health Benefits 101: Family Therapy and Dyadic Services

California has created a dyadic services Medi-Cal benefit effective January 2023. The dyadic services benefit allows Medi-Cal to cover behavioral health wellness visits that focus on the individual child and their surrounding environment, including caregiver wellness, all within the context of the child’s medical appointment.

Interactive tool

Navigating the Early Identification and Intervention Maze: A Flowchart

California’s early identification and intervention (EII) system is complicated. This interactive flowchart shows the various pathways families with low-income may follow when seeking services for a developmental or mental health concern.

Featured Project

Early Childhood Resource Library

The Early Childhood Resource Library compiles and shares relevant research, data, and stories from across California. These resources were created by organizations doing important work to support early childhood.

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