About #KidsAreEssential

Children and their families are facing converging crises—COVID-19, racial injustice and economic instability—and desperately need support.

A child’s earliest experiences set the foundation for life-long success. What occurs during the first few years of life—beginning prenatally—has a substantial impact on both short and long-term outcomes in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

But right now, families—particularly those with infants and toddlers—are facing converging crises. COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic instability threaten the future of our youngest generation. Families are in distress and unable to afford the care their kids need to thrive. Many parents are jobless or are risking their health to work. They are struggling to put food on the table. Children lack peer-to-peer connection and daily structure. Child care and health care providers are undervalued and struggling to make ends meet. Families of color and communities with low incomes have been hit hardest by the pandemic. We are currently living in a two-tiered society where only some children and their families have access to necessary support in times of crisis. This is not only wrong, it is also dangerous and endangers our country’s success.

When we support children and their families in their youngest years, infants grow into healthy babies and healthy babies grow into healthy kids—equipped with the confidence and empathy to take on school and life.

These issues aren’t new. While they have been exacerbated in the past year, they predate COVID-19. Decades-long failures to invest in the critical needs families require to survive and thrive is undermining America’s economic potential. Without an investment in young children and their families, we cannot address the health, economic, and racial inequity crises made worse by the pandemic.

When we support children and their families in their youngest years, infants grow into healthy babies and healthy babies grow into healthy kids—equipped with the confidence and empathy to take on school and life. More so than at any later point, this early investment reaps lifelong benefits, strengthening our future communities, workforce, and economy.

Our country is at a tipping point, and our children’s futures are at stake. If we don’t focus on the needs of children and their families, particularly in the prenatal to three period, as the nation attempts to recover and rebuild from COVID-19, we risk creating a generation of children further behind than any other in recent history. Child development doesn’t stop when crises happen. We can’t stop either. We must ensure that our nation is equipped to support children and their families with the critical resources they need to survive the pandemic and thrive in the years beyond it. This is our opportunity to shape the future of millions of families - and our nation as a whole. Let’s recognize young children as our greatest resource and treat them as our highest priority. Their success is our future.

Our Partners

#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. Issues that affect them will also affect the future of everything we hold dear. #KidsAreEssential is led by:

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

#KidsAreEssential is also supported by

  • 1000 Days, an initiative of FHI Solutions
  • 4C for Children, Dayton Ohio
  • Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors
  • Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance at Adirondack Foundation
  • Advocates for Children of New Jersey
  • Agenda for Children (Louisiana)
  • All our Kin
  • Alliance for Early Success
  • Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
  • Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Arkansas Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Arkansas Early Childhood Association
  • Arkansas Home Visiting Network
  • Association for Washington Business Institute
  • Bank Street Education Center
  • BCDI- Denver
  • Briya Public Charter School, Washington DC
  • Build Up California
  • Center for Law and Social Policy
  • Center for the Study of Social Policy
  • Child Care Aware of America
  • Child Care Aware of Missouri
  • Child Care Services Association (North Carolina)
  • Child Welfare League of America
  • Children Now
  • Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership
  • Children's Advocacy Initiative, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Children's Advocacy Alliance (Nevada)
  • Children's Home Society of America
  • ChildTrust Foundation (North Carolina)
  • Clayton Early Learning
  • Coalition for Human Needs
  • Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health
  • Colorado Children's Campaign
  • Community Organizing and Family Issues
  • Detroit Champions for Hope
  • Docs for Tots
  • Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga, NY
  • Early Learning Alliance (North Texas)
  • Early Success Coalition, Shelby County Tennessee
  • Educare Learning Network
  • Education Development Center
  • Erie Family Health Centers (Illinois)
  • Excel by Eight (Arkansas)
  • Family Values@Work
  • First 1000 Days Florida
  • First 5 Association of California
  • First 5 Center for Children's Policy
  • First Five California
  • First Five Del Norte
  • First Five Ventura County
  • First Focus on Children
  • First Steps Kent Michigan
  • First Three Years Texas
  • First Up
  • Georgetown Center for Children and Families
  • Good Plus Foundation
  • Green Space Learning
  • Groundwork Ohio
  • Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network
  • Home Grown
  • Idaho Voices for Children
  • INCK Marks Initiative
  • Kellin Foundation (North Carolina)
  • Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
  • Learn to Earn Dayton  
  • Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
  • Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
  • Low Income Investment Fund
  • MAEC
  • Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Maryland Family Network
  • Marys Center (Washington DC)
  • Maternity Care Coalition of Philadelphia
  • Michigan League of Public Policy
  • Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Black Child Development Institute
  • National Diaper Bank Network
  • National Family Support Network
  • National Partnership for Women and Families
  • National Workforce Registry Alliance, Inc.
  • Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative
  • Nemours Children’s Health System
  • New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
  • No Small Matter
  • North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation
  • Nurse Family Partnership
  • Oakland University/Pontiac Initiative, Early Childhood Education Group
  • Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Our Children Oregon
  • Our Father's Family Keeper Ministries
  • ParentChild+
  • Partnership For America's Children
  • Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
  • Prenatal to Five Fiscal Strategies
  • Preschool Promise Inc, Dayton Ohio
  • Prevent Child Abuse America
  • Prevent Child Abuse Illinois
  • Prevent Child Abuse New York
  • Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina
  • Raise Colorado
  • Randolph Partnership for Children and Randolph ChAMPS (North Carolina)
  • RAPID-EC, University of Oregon
  • Reading Success by 4th Grade, Springfield, MA
  • Ready for School, Ready for Life (Guilford, NC)
  • Rhode Island Kids Count
  • Room to Grow
  • Save the Children Action Network
  • SchoolHouse  Connection
  • Sesame Workshop
  • Sorenson Impact
  • South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association
  • SPIN (Pennsylvania)
  • Start Early
  • Steve Nash Foundation
  • Strategies for Children (Massachusetts)
  • Sunrise Therapy
  • The BUILD Initiative
  • The Children's Agenda (Rochester, NY)
  • The Children's Partnership (California)
  • The Family Conservancy (Minnesota)
  • The Family Focused Treatment Association
  • The North Carolina Partnership for Children
  • Think Babies North Carolina Alliance
  • Trust for Learning
  • United Parent Leaders Action Network
  • United Way for Greater Austin
  • United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
  • Voices for Children of San Antonio
  • Voices for Virginia's Children
  • Vote Mama Foundation
  • Washington County, Virginia Community Advocacy Committee
  • West Central Initiative (Minnesota)
  • Winning Beginning New York
  • Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
  • WNY Women's Foundation
  • Zero to Five Montana