Our work, guided by our North Star and underpinned by racial justice, focuses on three interconnected dimensions: health justice, economic justice, and family autonomy.

Our work is both practical and aspirational. We take on strategic, immediate, and achievable policy changes that will benefit families today as we work toward more innovative and transformative policy shifts that promote the well-being of families over the long term and ensure they have control over the most important decisions in their lives. We do this by focusing on policies aimed at achieving economic and health justice, and promoting family support, dignity, and autonomy.

We must ensure that all young children and their families have the opportunity to be healthy and happy, participate fully in society, and pursue their goals. Doing so requires understanding the root causes of contemporary inequities and developing anti-racist family and early childhood policies that ensure all young children have what they need to grow and thrive in supportive communities.

Below are a few examples of how we execute our North Star vision.


Caregiving—in the formal care workforce and outside of it—can be deeply fulfilling work, but it also can be emotionally and physically difficult labor, and it can subject those who do it to severe economic insecurity and hardship. While some caregivers live with other wage earners and can share in the family’s income, many caregivers cannot or do not have adequate family income to meet their needs, and relying on family income as a source of support does not value the work they do.

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Strategies to Compensate Unpaid Caregivers: A Policy Scan
Caregiving is essential work, but this work too often falls on individuals with little or no support from society as a whole. As a result, many caregivers experience severe economic security and hardship—especially women, and Black, Latinx/e, and other women of color and immigrant women in particular, who provide the most care. To better understand the current policy gaps and how we might better support unpaid family caregivers moving forward, this new report summarizes the policies in place to compensate family caregivers in the United States and abroad and offers recommendations for ensuring future policies more effectively support unpaid caregivers and their families.

Learn more about Strategies to Compensate Unpaid Caregivers: A Policy Scan here.

Creating Actionable & Real Solutions (CARES)Cares (1)

We are working to drastically change the systemic challenges that youth who are or have been involved with the foster care system experience.

On any given day in the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system—and more than 82,000 are youth older than 14. These young people, specifically transition-age youth of color, are more likely to experience disparate treatment and outcomes.  It is our belief that, with the right combination of innovation, authentic engagement of youth, and community collaboration, we can start to change that.

Learn more about our approach to the work here.

CARES Youth Ambassadors, selected in Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Atlanta, GA (each of the cities in which we are conducting our work), function as advisors for this work. Below, find two examples of cornerstone work done in collaboration with CARES Ambassadors.

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A Policy Agenda for a Nation that CARES for Young Adults
A product of a collaboration between CARES Ambassadors and CSSP, this policy agenda reimagines how policy supports young people in their families and communities, respects and affirms their whole identity, and sets us all up for success.

Learn more about A Policy Agenda for a Nation that CARES for Young Adults here.

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CARES: Understanding How Transition Age Youth Experience their Communities
This report shares findings taken from a Community Analysis and identifies 1) structural challenges that communities face as they work to support transition age youth (TAY); 2) narratives about TAY that contribute to these challenges and policies and practices that create burdens for TAY in meeting their needs; and 3) creative solutions that build the capacity of communities to affirm, include, and support youth transitioning out of foster care. 

Learn more about CARES: Understanding How Transition Age Youth Experience their Communities here.

Parent Leader NetworkPln

The EC-LINC Parent Leader Network (PLN) provides a space for parents in EC-LINC communities to collaborate with and support each other, represent the parent perspective, and advocate for parent voice and leadership in early childhood systems. We believe that:

  • Parents should be at the center of the work of early childhood agencies and systems;
  • Parents should be participating at all levels from planning to budgeting to decision-making;
  • Parents should be valued as experts; and
  • Parents should be powerful leaders in their communities and beyond.

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MANIFESTO for Race Equity & Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems
A group of 40 parent leaders and agency staff from nine EC-LINC communities, with support from CSSP staff and consultants, came together to create this Manifesto for Race Equity and Parent Leadership in Early Childhood.

Learn more about MANIFESTO for Race Equity & Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems here.

Advancing an Anti-Racist Child Allowance

Our work is grounded in deep historical research that examines the ways in which policies and decisions have been built over time and how they continue to influence decisions and impact families in policy today. In addition to grounding our work in historical research, we center the experiences and needs of families through a combination of strategies including long-term collaboration and qualitative interviews and surveys. We believe that developing meaningful solutions can only be achieved if our policy work is driven by what families determine they need in ways that they determine work best.

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Let Us Rise: How Parents and Caregivers Would Design a Permanent Child Allowance to Advance Racial and Economic Justice
To learn how a child allowance can be designed to meet families’ needs and advance racial and economic justice, CSSP interviewed more than 40 Black, Latinx, and other parents and caregivers of color with low and moderate incomes, asking about their goals for themselves and their families, their experiences with the Child Tax Credit and other programs that helped meet their needs, and what they would need from a permanent child allowance in order to support their families and fulfill their goals.

Learn more about Let Us Rise: How Parents and Caregivers Would Design a Permanent Child Allowance to Advance Racial and Economic Justice here.

Cares (2)  

The Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition
The Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition is a cross-cutting group of national, state, and grassroots organizations. Our mission is to create a child allowance, or a guaranteed minimum income for children, that provides regular, meaningful assistance to families, promotes racial equity and justice, enjoys broad public support, and serves as a foundation for a more equitable and inclusive social support system. We see the expansion of a fully inclusive Child Tax Credit as a step toward that goal.





Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE)
DULCE is an innovative approach based in the pediatric care setting that proactively addresses social determinants of health, promotes the healthy development of infants, and provides support to their parents, all during the precious and critical first six months of life.

DULCE does this by introducing a Family Specialist trained in child development, relational practice, and concrete support problem solving into the pediatric care team. Family Specialists attend well-child visits with families and providers. They get to know the families, provide peer support, and then work with the DULCE Interdisciplinary Team to connect families with resources and support.

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DULCE: A Review of Impacts and Insights
Read an overview and initial lessons learned from DULCE, an intervention that brings together health, legal, and early childhood systems partners to better support families of infants during the critical first six months of life.

Learn more about DULCE: A Review of Impacts and Insights

The Dulce Approach To Setting Goals With Families Of Infants   The DULCE Approach to Setting Goals with Families of Infants

CSSP engaged in a 12-month planning and implementation project focused on developing and pilot testing a collaborative goal setting process for families of infants that is derived from goal concordant care. This paper describes the initial success of this endeavor, including a description of and guidelines for the collaborative goal setting process, initial findings from pilot testing of the process, reflections about participants’ experience of the process, and a list of draft training and technical assistance tools.

Learn more about The DULCE Approach to Setting Goals with Families of Infants here.