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Our Influence

Driving Change In Early Childhood

Remarkable Success for Over 55 Years

Erikson Institute was one of the first institutions in the country to recognize the importance of a child’s early years. Today, our groundbreaking work continues to define us as pioneers in the field of early childhood and leaders in the essential work to make a positive difference for children, families, and communities.

With an exclusive focus on educating, serving, and leading in the early childhood field, our work to improve the lives of young children and their families is supported by four pillars:

  • Innovative academic programs
  • Direct service in the community
  • Applied research
  • Field-wide policy advocacy and influence

Above all, we remain true to our founding mission and to the conviction that all children deserve an equitable opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Woman discussing academics

Academic Programs

We are a premier graduate school in child development and a leader in continuing education for professionals who work with young children and their families. On our downtown Chicago campus and through distance learning, we uniquely prepare adults to become informed leaders and practitioners. We offer a range of advanced degrees and certificate programs in child development, early childhood education, and social work.

49000 +
Hours of field service by students annually
Annual field placement agency partners providing services to children and their families
200 +
Possible partnership sites for student field service
Two people playing with a child

Direct Services

Our students, faculty, and staff provide a wide range of direct services to children and families in Illinois. More than 7,000 families have been served by our Fussy Baby Network, Center for Children and Families, and Early Childhood Project, a partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Each year, our students put in more than 49,000 hours of field service at 68 agencies serving children and their families.

Committed to Serving the Community

Early Childhood Project

Our Early Childhood Project with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) annually provides clinical assessments, early intervention, and mental health services to more than 4,400 children who become involved in the state child welfare system because of abuse and neglect.

Center for Children and Families

Since 2009, our Center for Children and Families has provided mental health services to more than 3,000 families with young children from three locations in Chicago. A new satellite clinic in the Little Village neighborhood was made possible by a $1 million multi-year grant from the Pritzker Foundation and a second leadership gift of $500,000 from the Sacks Family Foundation.

1450 +
Hours of pro-bono treatment and assessment services provided annually
7000 +
Families that have been served by our Fussy Baby Network, Center for Children and Families, and Early Childhood Project
40 %
CCF clients receive pro-bono or sliding scale services
Two masked instructors

Applied Research

Current projects are changing the way early childhood professionals approach complex problems. Our groundbreaking research includes several studies that are the first of their kind in the field on topics including:

  • Home visiting
  • Mindfulness interventions in the classroom
  • Home-based child care
Our Influence Leadership

Policy and Leadership

Our Policy and Leadership team works collaboratively with communities and their leaders to inform policy and systems change that ensures all children receive equitable opportunities to achieve their full potential. We do this through three initiatives:

  • Early Childhood Leadership Academy
  • Early Development Instrument (EDI) Project
  • Risk and Reach Report
Individuals who have participated in Early Childhood Leadership Academy programs
Illinois communities that implemented the Early Development Instrument
2100 +
Printed and downloaded copies of the Illinois Risk and Reach Reports distributed to communities, advocates and elected officials

1,800 DAYS a new podcast from Erikson Institute and PRX

Hosted by WBEZ reporter and renowned author Natalie Moore, 1,800 Days explores early childhood care and education from its conception, to its current state, to experts’ predictions of its future. The first 1,800 days of every child’s life — the time from birth to kindergarten – is the most intense period of development in their lifetime. This is the story of early childhood in the U.S.