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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.

Foster collective thinking with data literacy coaching, which leads to more equitable solutions and thriving environments for young children and their families.

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.

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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

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

Leaders, professionals, community members attending programs and workshops since 2009
Instances of leaders and communities amplifying early childhood advocacy post-program to improve policies and increase access to resources
43 %
Of senior administrators shifted to leadership positions post-program* with broader impact on local, state and national early childhood efforts

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 at Erikson, and Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas, you’ll hear about trending headlines and how children can and should be centered.

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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

McCormick Foundation

Pritzker Children's Initiative

W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation logo

Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development

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.

See all News and Press