Young children (under age 6)3: 119,678
* This graph includes all possible risk factors: poor, single parent, teen mother, low parental education, nonemployed parents, residential mobility, households without English speakers, and large family size.
The Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profile shows which state policies meet benchmarks that are favorable to the well-being of children and their families. The profile includes policies that are key elements of a two-generation approach to supporting the well-being and life opportunities of young children and their parents, in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic support.
A two-generation framework for policy design reflects extensive research that identifies the critical supports young children need over time to thrive1,2. Most two-generation supports for young children and families are created through the collective impact of multiple policies. An example is investment in prekindergarten programs and an effective quality improvement system that promotes children’s access to high quality early care and education programs along with state policies such as the Earned Income Tax credit and minimum wage that raise the incomes of low-income working families; another is policies that ensure mental health screenings and access to quality health care for both children and parents.
A brief overview of policies in the EC Two-Generation State Policy Profile is provided below (see policy definitions for an explanation of benchmarks). The Profile is limited to policies for which 50-state data are available. Users who wish to examine additional policies specific to their state, within a two-generation framework, can find suggestions in State Policies through a Two-Generation Lens: Strengthening the Collective Impact of Policies that Affect the Life Course of Young Children and their Parents.
States can support young children's development by making key policy choices in early health and development. This section of ITO highlights states' policy choices for supporting young children's wellbeing: 1) Access to and continuity of health care, including state Medicaid/CHIP eligibility levels and coverage of legal immigrant children; 2) Parents' access to health care, including for low-income pregnant women, and access to a medical home for young children; and 3) Preventive screening and assessment, including adherence to recommended schedules for well-child visits.
Early Care and Education
States make important decisions about the early care and education services they provide to young children and families. This section of ITO higlights states' key policy choices that affect children's development and parents' ability to work: 1) Access to childcare, including subsidy eligibility levels and reimbursement rates; and 2) States' investment in Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-kindergarten, child care centers' class size and student-teacher ratios and investment in infant/toddler specialist networks and credentials and Quality Rating Improvement Systems.
Parenting and Economic Supports
States make critical policy choices that help low-income parents effectively support young children's healthy development. This section of ITO spotlights states' policy choices related to important economic supports for low-income families with young children: 1) TANF requirements for parents of young children; and 2) Income support policies including tax relief, earned income and dependent care tax credits, as well as child support disregards.
State Choices to Promote Access
Sets the income eligibility limit for public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP) at or above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) 5
- Children <1 year
Sets eligibility at 305% (S-CHIP) and 163% (Medicaid)
- Children 1-5 years
Sets eligibility at 305% (S-CHIP) and 146% (Medicaid)
- Children 6-18 years
Sets eligibility at 305% (S-CHIP) and 138% (Medicaid and M-CHIP)
- Pregnant women
Sets eligibility at 163% (Medicaid)
- Provides lawfully residing immigrant children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provides lawfully residing pregnant immigrant women with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provides temporary coverage to children under Medicaid or CHIP until eligibility can be formally determined 5
- Provides temporary coverage to pregnant women under Medicaid until eligibility can be formally determined 5
- Includes at-risk children in the definition of eligibility for IDEA Part C 6
- Does not require redetermination of eligibility for Medicaid/CHIP more than once a year 5
- Has adopted Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act 7
- Has an online dual-benefit form to apply for Medicaid and SNAP 5
- Medicaid pays for maternal depression screening during pediatric/family medicine visits under the child's Medicaid 8
State Choices to Promote Quality
EPSDT screening periodicity schedule meets recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics [FY 2016]4
- 7 screenings for children <1 year
State requires 7 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 4 screenings for children 1-2 years
State requires 4 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 3 screenings for children 3-5 years
State requires 3 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 4 screenings for children 6-9 years
State requires 2 screens. 100% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
Early Care and Education
State Choices to Promote Access
- Sets the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200% FPL 9
A family of three qualifies for assistance at $29,688 or 145% FPL. This reflects a decrease from 147% FPL in 2016.
- Reimburses center-based care at the highest quality QRIS tier above the 75th percentile of current market rates 9
The reimbursement rate for center care for a four-year-old statewide at the highest quality tier was 14% higher than the rate at the lowest quality tier.
- Provides families with at least 12 months of continuous eligibility for child care subsidies [FY 2016]11
Eligibility redetermined every six months.
- Funds a pre-kindergarten program and/or supplements Head Start [FY 2016]12
$97,807,662 for pre-kindergarten
- Requires districts to offer full day kindergarten 13
State Choices to Promote Quality
- Requires one adult for every four 18-month-olds in child care centers 14
- Requires one adult for every ten 4-year-olds in child care centers 14
Child care regulations require one adult for every 12 children.
- Requires one teacher for every 12 students in kindergarten classrooms 15
Requires one teacher for every 20 students.
- Has early learning standards or developmental guidelines for infants and toddlers 16
- Has an infant/toddler credential or certificate 17
- Requires that infants and toddlers in child care centers be assigned a consistent primary caregiver 18
- Has implemented a statewide Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) 19
Planning for a QRIS.
- Has comprehensive, free-standing standards for social emotional learning at the K-12 level 20
- Requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree for lead teachers in public pre-K programs and licensed child care centers 21
Only lead teachers in public pre-K programs are required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.
Parenting and Economic Supports
State Choices to Promote Effective Parenting
- Extends Medicaid coverage for family planning to otherwise ineligible low-income women 22
- Exempts single parents on TANF from work requirements until the youngest child reaches age 1 [FY 2016]23
The state does not consider these groups technically exempt; however, they may meet the state's criteria for good cause for noncompliance or deferral. This may be taken any time while the child is under 12 months for up to 12 months in the recipient's lifetime.
- Reduces the TANF work requirement to 20 hours or less for single parents with children under age 6 [FY 2016]23
- Has paid family leave for a minimum of 6 weeks with partial replacement of wages 24
- Offers accrual of at least five paid sick days 25
State Choices to Promote Family Economic Security
- Established a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $10.00/hr and is indexed to inflation for a family of three 26
- Sets gross income eligibility limit at 200% FPL and does not have asset limits for SNAP 27
Gross income limit is set at 130% FPL. No asset limit.
- Exempts single-parent families of three below the federal poverty level from personal income tax 28
- Offers a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit 29
- Offers a refundable state dependent care tax credit [FY 2016]30
- Offers a refundable Child Tax Credit 31
- Keeps copayments for child care subsidies at or below 7% of family income for families of three at 150% FPL 9
Copayments set at 5% of income.
- Offers exemptions and/or extensions of the TANF benefit time limit for women who are pregnant or caring for a child under age 6 [FY 2016]23
Time extensions are offered to single women who are in month 7 or later of pregnancy and parents caring for a child under 6 months of age.
- Offers a minimum of 28 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits 32
State provides up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UI.
Data Notes and Sources
Last Updated: August 22, 2018
Send us recent developments to update your state's profile.
- Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century. The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and psychopathology, 25(4pt2), 1635-1653.
- National data were calculated from the 2016 American Community Survey, representing information from 2016. State data were calculated from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2012 to 2016.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2017). The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2016. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed December 11, 2017). Data were not reported for ND.
- Brooks, T., Miskell, S., Artiga, S., Cornachione, E., & Gates, A. (2018). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies as of January 2018: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://files.kff.org (accessed July 2, 2018).
- Ringwalt, S. (Comp.). (2015). Summary table of states' and territories' definitions of/criteria for IDEA Part C eligibility. http://www.nectac.org (accessed August 25, 2015).
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2018). Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision. https://www.kff.org (accessed July 13, 2018).
- Update of the National Center for Children in Poverty Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Medicaid Survey reported in March 2017. http://nccp.org Data were based on 49 state survey updates as of August 2, 2018. Pending states: AR and OH.
- Schulman, K., & Blank, H. (2017). Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017. National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed November 2, 2017). Parents at 150% FPL ineligible for monthly child care copayments in Maryland.
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2017 Math and Reading Assessment. https://nces.ed.gov (accessed June 29, 2018).
- Minton, S., Blatt, L., Tran, V., Stevens, K., & Giannarelli, L. (2017). The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables: Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2016. OPRE Report 2017-105. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed February 22, 2018).
- Barnett, W. S., Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Weisenfeld, G. G., Horowitz, M., Kasmin, R., & Squires, J. H. (2017). The State of Preschool 2016: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. http://nieer.org (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Diffey, L. (2018). 50-State Comparison: State Kindergarten-Through-Third-Grade Policies. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States. http://ecs.force.com (accessed June 29, 2018).
- Child Care Aware of America. (2018). The Child Care State Licensing Database. Arlington, VA: Child Care Aware. http://licensingdatabase.usa.childcareaware.org (accessed July 25, 2018).
- Diffey, L. (2018). 50-State Comparison: State Kindergarten-Through-Third-Grade Policies. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States. http://ecs.force.com (accessed June 29, 2018). Data for MS were obtained from MS Kindergarten Guidelines.
- Administration for Children & Families, National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2017). State Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Administration for Children & Families, National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. (2018). State/Territory Infant/Toddler Credential Overview, February 2018. Obtained data from staff at ZERO TO THREE.
- Sosinsky, L., Ruprecht, K., Horm, D., Kriener-Althen, K., Vogel, C., & Halle, T. (2016). Including Relationship-Based Care Practices in Infant-Toddler Care: Implications for Practice and Policy. Brief prepared for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- QRIS National Learning Network. (2017). Current Status of QRIS in the States map. http://qrisnetwork.org (accessed February 7, 2017).
- The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (2018). K-12 Learning Goals for SEL in all 50 States. Chicago, IL: CASEL. https://casel.org (accessed June 29, 2018). Data for DC were based on DC Educational Standards.
- Whitebook, M., McLean, C., Austin, L.J.E., & Edwards, B. (2018). Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018. Berkeley, CA: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley. http://cscce.berkeley.edu (accessed July 25, 2018).
- Guttmacher Institute. (2018). Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. New York, NY: Guttmacher Institute. Https://www.guttmacher.org (accessed January 3, 2018).
- Giannarelli, L., Heffernan, C., Minton, S., Thompson, M., & Stevens, K. (2017). Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2016. OPRE Report 2017-82. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed December 19, 2017).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2018). State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed July 20, 2018).
- National Partnership for Women & Families. (2018). Paid Sick Days - State and District Statutes. Washington, DC: National Partnership for Women & Families. http://www.nationalpartnership.org (accessed July 20, 2018).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2018). State Minimum Wages: 2018 Minimum Wage by State. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed July 20, 2018).
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. (2016). 50-State Data, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). http://nccp.org (accessed July 18, 2017).
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. (2016). 50-State Data, Income Tax Liability. http://nccp.org (accessed July 20, 2018).
- Williams, E., & Waxman, S. (2018). States Can Adopt or Expand Earned Income Tax Credits to Build a Stronger Future Economy. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org (accessed June 29, 2018).
- National Women's Law Center. (2017). State Child Care and Dependent Care, Tax Provisions, Tax Year 2016. Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families. (2018). State Tax Credits Maps. http://www.taxcreditsforworkersandfamilies.org (accessed July 20, 2018).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2018). Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available? Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org (accessed July 25, 2018).