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Policy & Leadership

Address the structural barriers rooted in systemic racism with us to affect real change in early childhood policy.

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Policy & Leadership

Advocating for Children & Families through Policy and Leadership

Learn how you can affect policy change.

To get at the root causes of the disparities we see in early childhood, it is critical to have a deeper understanding of child development, our early care and education systems, and the barriers that stem from institutional racism. The science of child development, the power of data and the wisdom of community voices help inform more effective policy solutions.

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 advocates.

Learn more about our fellowship programs and workshops on early childhood science, social service systems, and current issues.

Apply an anti-racist approach to your project and strategic planning with coaching support and add to your staff’s professional growth with tailored learning experiences from Erikson.

Our Policy and Leadership Department offers professionals across the nonprofit and corporate sectors dynamic learning experiences on anti-racism practices in language and data to inform communication and data analysis.

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Let’s center the rights of children in today’s trending headlines and hot topics

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Penny Smith
Penny Smith
CPTD® Director of Learning and Impact
“ Our capacity-building programs equip leaders with leading-edge research and hands-on experience to transform policy. ”

Program Reach

54 %
Of senior administrators shifted to leadership positions post-program* with broader impact on local, state and national early childhood efforts
94 %
Of survey responses from the cross-sector of professionals taking our anti-racism workshops felt the content provided compelling research and information.
75 %
Of alumni from our leadership programs remain engaged in advocating for early childhood policy change and lifting equity issues.

*Data from Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows and previous iterations of the program.

Tools for You

Find Stories and Resources from the Early Childhood Field

Get on the Early Childhood Bus, a podcast from Erikson Institute.

Hosted by Penny Smith, director of learning and impact, Erikson’s Policy and Leadership Team invites you to join us to hear about trending headlines and how children can and should be centered.

Press Play to Listen

Erikson’s Policy and Leadership App

Find more resources on our programs, calendar of events and our alumni network on our app. Download at the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or view the Desktop Version.


Support for Erikson’s Policy & Leadership Department is provided by an Anonymous Donor and:

Irving Harris Foundation logo

Grand Victoria Foundation

Pritzker Children's Initiative

W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation logo

Latest News & Press

Stay Updated on Current Events and News

Informed Child Policy Starts Here

Review a policy brief, devour research articles, and unpack the latest early childhood development news and trends.

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