As detailed in Strategies 8 and 9 listed above, EHF supports community-based clinics and community-based organizations to embrace the importance of early childhood brain development and to prioritize primary prevention work with low-income families beginning before or at the birth of their children.
Whether in the clinic or community setting, we prioritize work that:
- Provides or connects expectant people and primary caregivers of children in the first three years of life to programs and resources that support “serve and return” knowledge and skills and other practices that lead to safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between caregiver and child
- Identifies instances of perinatal mood disorder or other behavioral health concerns such as substance use disorders in expectant people and primary caregivers of infants and toddlers and provides direct support or effective referrals to equitably address these concerns
- Uses evidence-based or promising screening and/or evaluation tools to observe or measure the health of the caregiver and child relationship
- Advances policy or other systems-change efforts that seek to scale and sustain early childhood brain development interventions or supports, including public health programs for families who are pregnant or parenting infants and toddlers, to ultimately achieve greater health equity across generations
As EHF continues work in this area, we are mindful of the many systems that impact families and their young children. While there is excellent and essential work taking place in the pre-K, formal and informal group childcare/early education, and child protection settings, EHF is not currently investing in those systems.