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Policy & Research

Uncovering knowledge and driving change in the service of children.

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Policy & Research

Where Early Child Research & Policy Intersect

Improving children’s lives by conducting research to inform public policy.

At the heart of Erikson Institute is our mission: to educate, inspire and promote leadership that supports children and families in reaching their full potential.

By conducting critical research and influencing data-driven public policies, we’re creating lasting change to positively impact children.


Early Childhood Research Informs the Need for Action

The first 1800 days of life set the stage for children’s development
13 %
Return on investment per child for high quality early childhood development programs
85 %
Of brain growth and development happens in the first 5 years of life


Answering the Most Challenging Child Development Questions

We conduct critical child development applied research to inform policy and community action.

From classroom methodologies to home-based care networks, our work seeks to generate knowledge through rigorous research in a number of areas.

  • Assessments
  • Early Childcare Workforce
  • Family Supports
  • Home-Based Childcare
  • Infants and Toddlers
  • Schools and Teachers
  • Technology and Young Children

Meet our researchers, read our reports, and join us in discovering how we can change the world to better serve the needs of children and families.

Learn more about Research

Policy & Leadership

Empowering Leaders to Evolve Public Policies Based on Data

The more we know, the better we can serve children, families, and communities.

Through our Policy and Leadership initiatives, we work to improve children’s lives by supporting data-driven public policies in service of positive outcomes.

Learn more about Policy & Leadership

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Find out how we engage and contribute expertise on early childhood policy to policy tables, maintaining a focus on workforce issues and building a diverse pipeline of educators.

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Learn more about our fellowship programs, executive coaching, and training programs designed for community and field leaders who seek to influence childhood policy.

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Foster collective thinking and contextualize data to create equitable solutions that result in thriving environments for young children and their families with our data justice programs.

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Gain further insight into child development and critical factors with Illinois’ Risk and Reach Report, an analysis of county-by-county data and the reach of publicly-funded programs.

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Find out what’s happening in the world of child development

Subscribe for the latest updates on policy and applied research at Erikson and around the nation.

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Decolonizing Data and Language Workshops

Re-examine Your Messaging

Take this 90-minute interactive workshop with your team to understand how data and the words we use can dehumanize and deflect from focusing on systemic flaws. Structural racism is baked in our systems, and this workshop offers ways to effectively use data and language to illuminate systemic barriers and reveal root causes.

Learn more

The Latest Applied Research

Explore Our Research in Early Child Development

Our team of researchers is at the forefront of early childhood development applied research.

See What We’re Discovering