Pennsylvania Wins Unprecedented Grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative

State will increase the number of children and families receiving high-quality services by 25 percent by 2023, and by 50 percent by 2025

HARRISBURG (April 2, 2020) – Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the only statewide advocacy organization with a public policy agenda that spans the life of a child from birth to adulthood, today announced 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 developing and implementing its policy agenda.

The overall goal of the project is to increase the number of Pennsylvania children and families receiving high-quality services by 25 percent by 2023, and by 50 percent by 2025.

“This 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,” said Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “We take the word ‘partnerships’ in our name seriously, and this bold and innovative plan would not be possible without the commitment of the Wolf Administration and numerous advocacy coalitions and organizations already working to improve outcomes for our youngest citizens.”

King said 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. 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).

In addition to PPC, the grant leadership table includes several invaluable partners PPC regularly collaborates with in its 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.

King said the project emphasizes a public-private partnership with the Governor’s office and more broadly within the administration that includes the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, specifically the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

In addition, the Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA) coalition was a natural conduit for launching the work of the planning grant, and PPC will continue to rely heavily on existing alliances in two of ELPA’s statewide advocacy campaigns in child care (Start Strong PA) and home visiting (Childhood Begins at Home).