As our nation experiences unprecedented crises, children and their families, particularly infants and toddlers, must be recognized as our greatest resource and treated as our highest priority.

Two children in daycare drawing on butcher block paper.

Our country is at a tipping point, and our children’s futures hang in the balance.

The converging crises of COVID-19, ongoing racial injustice, and severe economic instability nationwide threaten the success of our children and our future. For many families, lack of access to basic needs like food, health care, child care, and housing are already a challenge — made worse by COVID-19, and felt more acutely in families of color and those with lower incomes. Child development doesn’t stop when crises happen. We can’t stop either.

In this moment of unprecedented hardship, we have a choice: we can help our kids thrive or allow them to struggle. Our country is at its best when we recognize that children and their families, particularly those in the prenatal to three period, are our greatest resource. They must be our highest priority and they need our investment now. This is our chance to make a powerful public commitment to our youngest generation. Their promise is our future.

#KidsAreEssential is bringing together a broad coalition of partners who work across issues not necessarily associated with children. Whether we work on housing, food insecurity, gender equity, immigration, or a whole host of other issues, we believe that we all have a stake in kids’ futures.  Together, we are calling on our policymakers at all levels of government to invest in children and their families as early as possible, and address the economic, racial, and health disparities that were made worse by the pandemic.

Our Priorities

We believe—in regular times and even more in times of crisis—that #KidsAreEssential. We are calling for a strong and sustained public investment in young children and their families that addresses the threats of COVID-19 and sets them up for success beyond it. When you invest in kids and families, even before birth, you invest in the future. It’s time we acknowledge that kids are our greatest resource and treat them as our highest priority. Kids can’t wait.

As our leaders make decisions to help our country recover from a pandemic that has devastated our nation, we have an opportunity to make real changes to the ways we support children and their families. When we commit to the idea that #KidsAreEssential—and when we ensure that children and families have what they need to thrive—we are laying the groundwork for a better future for all of us.

#KidsAreEssential stands for:

Join the Conversation

Share the following posts on social media to join the conversation on how to support young kids and their families in this critical moment.

Social media image that reads "We are in a time of unprecedented crisis for our children and their families. #KidsAreEssential."

We can’t allow the converging crises of #COVID19, racial injustice, and economic instability to threaten our kids’ futures. We’re launching #KidsAreEssential because right now, kids must be our greatest priority.

Learn more at

Social media image that reads "KidsAreEssential Racial and economic justice hold back the potential of far too many families of color." There is a picture of a black mother and toddler in the background.

#KidsAreEssential in and out of crisis. Our society needs to invest in kids and their families as early as possible. It’s time to address the economic, racial, and health disparities that were made worse by the pandemic. Take action—today.

Join us:

Let’s Work Together

We believe that #KidsAreEssential: now and for our future. Sign up to learn more about how you can support an investment in kids and their families that addresses the health, economic, and racial inequity crises made worse by the pandemic.

By signing up, you are opting in to updates from #KidsAreEssential and our partner organizations, ZERO TO THREE, The National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (NCIT) and the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

Meet Our Partners

Caring Across Generations logo
Children's Defense Fund logo
Community Change logo
Council for a Strong America logo
Food Research & Action Center logo
Moms Rising logo
National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers logo
National Women's Law Center logo
The Education Trust logo
Unidos US logo
Zero to Three logo
Made possible with the support of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative