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The Infant/Toddler Project

Most of New York’s children will spend some of their formative years in child care outside the home. And the quality of that care will help shape the rest of their lives. Study after study has shown that those who receive high-quality child care are more likely to succeed, starting in kindergarten and continuing through adulthood. The foundation for this success must be laid early on, when children are infants and toddlers. The Early Care & Learning Council has responded to this need by developing the Infant/Toddler Project. Delivered through our statewide network of Child Care Resource & Referral Services, the Project provides support when it can have the greatest impact—during the first three years of life. Our Infant/Toddler Project reaches out to communities, child care providers, and families to promote safe, nurturing environments for the youngest New Yorkers. It emphasizes the high-quality early care that’s essential to children’s long-term social, emotional, and intellectual development. That, in turn, has a positive ripple effect on schools, businesses, and communities across New York State.

Many infants and toddlers are in child care settings that struggle even to meet the most basic health and safety requirements. Day after day, these children are losing ground. Together, we can reverse that trend by providing the high-quality early care that every New York child deserves.

750,000 reasons why early care matters to New York

New York is home to about 750,000 infants and toddlers. During their first three years of life—the most important for brain development—more than half of these youngsters will be in child care. That makes the quality of care a critical social concern. Research shows that children who receive high-quality early care have a significant advantage in school and in the years that follow. But the opportunity is not available to many of the youngest, most vulnerable New Yorkers. For these children and their families, too often the early years are filled with missed opportunities.

T h e c r i t i c a l e a r ly y e a r s

The achievement gap begins to show as early as 18 months of age in vocabulary differences between children who have high vs. low exposure to a rich language environment.

By age 3, children in more affluent families will have heard 30 million more words, on average, than children in low-income families.

Investing in infancy

39 percent of New York’s children live in low-income families; 21 percent live in poverty.

Roughly 85 percent of the brain’s core structures develop during the first three years of life. From both a development and an economic standpoint, this is the smartest time to invest in our children. Research shows that for every $1 spent on high-quality early care and education, communities save between $4 and $17 in future costs for remedial and special education, juvenile justice, and welfare support. And what the community gains is just as impressive: students who are more likely to attend college and take their place in an educated workforce. The Early Care & Learning Council has long recognized the connection between high-quality early care and future success. Through its Infant/Toddler Project, the Council plays an invaluable role in educating the public on the importance of the first three years of life, providing support for existing early care providers, and improving the quality of early care and learning across New York State.

One out of three New York children will arrive in kindergarten lacking the skills they need to succeed in school.

A c c o m p l i s h m e nt s in 2009-2010

The Early Care & Learning Council supported professional development for Infant/ Toddler Specialists, including in-service training and state and national conferences. Infant/Toddler Specialists provided more than 4,700 hours of technical assistance on topics including health and safety practices, early childhood development, age-appropriate environments, and care giving that supports children’s development and emerging language and literacy. Infant/Toddler Specialists trained more than 4,400 individuals, including caregivers and parents, on a variety of topics, such as ways to promote child development, family involvement, and cultural continuity. Infant/Toddler Specialists helped build capacity and improve coordination and access to services by convening infancy professionals from organizations across the state.

Contact us to receive a copy of the Infant/Toddler Project Evaluation and/or Impact Report:

A solid track record

New York was one of the first states to acknowledge the value of high-quality early care—and to invest accordingly. In 2002, New York established the Infant and Toddler Resource Network through regional centers with locally developed plans dedicated to improving the quality of child care for our youngest residents. The Infant/ Toddler Project of the Early Care & Learning Council provides leadership and support for the statewide network. Much of the Project’s work focuses on creating nurturing, stimulating environments by ensuring that care providers are prepared to meet the unique needs of babies and toddlers. Project staff share best practices, establish guidelines for early care, provide technical assistance, evaluate current efforts with an eye toward improvement, and forge partnerships with organizations and agencies that serve children and families. Together, these efforts have a powerful, positive impact on the quality of care for today’s infants and toddlers. Equally important, these efforts will continue to pay dividends—in New York’s schools and communities—for years to come.

An ongoing, pressing need

Despite our progress, we must do more. Research shows that children who do not have access to high-quality early care are far more likely to drop out of high school, become pregnant as teenagers, be involved in violent crime, and engage in other harmful, costly behaviors. Fortunately, the reverse is also true. Children who receive highquality care during the first three years of life develop language, social, emotional, and other skills that serve them well for the rest of their lives. They are twice as likely to attend college. They earn more as adults and are more likely to become homeowners. They also grow up better equipped to meet the needs of the next generation. But first, we must meet their needs. By investing in them as babies and toddlers, we can give them the foundation to succeed—in school, at work, as parents, and as New Yorkers.

The Early Care & Learning Council Marsha Basloe, Executive Director

NYS Infant and Toddler Resource Network Evelyn Efinger, Infant/Toddler Project Coordinator 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203 (518) 690-4217 email:


230 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203 518.690.4217

NYS Infant and Toddler Resource Network

Infant Toddler Project  
Infant Toddler Project  

The early years matter! New York's Early Care & Learning Council has created the Infant/Toddler Project to address the issue's most critical...