PPC is elated to announce that after nearly one year of work convening a comprehensive stakeholder table in the infant and toddler policy space – including both state officials and external advocates – Pennsylvania has received the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI) Prenatal-to-Age-Three Implementation grant. The J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, under its Pritzker Children’s Initiative, will be making a three-year grant to Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children in the amount of $1.5 million in support of our work developing our policy agenda and now aiming to implement it.
The overall goal of the project is to increase the number of children and families receiving high-quality services by 25 percent by 2023, and by 50 percent by 2025, and the award demonstrates Pennsylvania’s commitment to expanding access to high-quality programs designed to support children’s healthy development and build a strong foundation for future learning.
In addition to PPC, the grant leadership table includes several invaluable partners PPC regularly collaborates with in our advocacy and policy work, including: two broad-based, regional child advocacy organizations, Allies for Children and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), the Maternity Care Coalition and the United Way of Pennsylvania.
The project emphasizes our public-private partnership with the Governor’s office and more broadly within his administration that includes the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and specifically the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
And, we utilized the Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA) coalition as a natural conduit for launching the work of the planning grant and will continue to rely heavily on our existing alliances in two of ELPA’s statewide advocacy campaigns in child care (Start Strong PA) and home visiting (Childhood Begins at Home).
Over the course of the planning phase of the grant, four key areas of focus emerged: child care, children’s health care, evidence-based home visiting, and prenatal and maternal health care. Our specific objectives by the close of the grant period are:
- Improving prenatal and maternal health outcomes, including maternal depression and anxiety;
- Addressing kids’ exposure to lead by improving screening rates and tackling abatement strategies;
- Improving nutrition for infants and toddlers, as well as their moms, in part by sustaining and modernizing the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program;
- Addressing access to health care coverage for infants and toddlers and reducing their uninsured rate;
- Expanding access to high-quality infant and toddler child care (ongoing work of the existing Start Strong PA campaign); and
- Expanding services of evidence-based home visiting in Pennsylvania (ongoing work of the existing Childhood Begins at Home campaign).
PPC President & CEO Kari King hoped to integrate key policy areas within the organization when she took over in 2019and, thanks to the grant awarded by PCI, will lead the organization into new and exciting areas like maternal health, child nutrition and lead screenings.
The countless hours PPC staff spent to secure this grant coupled with Kari’s leadership as de facto project coordinator and facilitator means Pennsylvania has a bold and innovative plan to put the state’s youngest children on a path for future success in school and life. Stay tuned for more updates as we start our implementation work!