Uniting communities into a connected network that improves results for children and families

What We Work For

EC-LINC is a network of partners with a shared goal—to support families and improve results for young children in communities across the country.

The Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC) was established to bring together innovative local communities with state and national leaders to intentionally collect existing and new knowledge, develop resources, and test new ideas.

How We Do It

The EC-LINC network demonstrates effective approaches to developing local early childhood systems and working across multiple sectors (e.g., health, early care and education, family support, and others). We collaborate to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in life, right from the start.

EC-LINC communities test new solutions and work to accelerate the development and spread of effective, community-based, integrated early childhood systems.

We also disseminate information to more broadly establish effective community-based early childhood systems that support the achievement of positive child outcomes.


Working together with national experts, communities have a formed learning and innovation network to:

Demonstrate results at the child, family, program, and community-levels.

Harvest and disseminate new and existing information on strategies and lessons learned in ways that are accessible and useful for hundreds of communities.

Tackle tough challenges facing communities as they work to improve immediate and long-term outcomes for young children and their families, particularly those living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.

Develop practical state and federal policy and funding recommendations to promote coherent, integrated community strategies that help parents give their young children the best possible start in life.

Convene state and federal leaders to learn in a systematic way about local experiences and the policy recommendations that flow from the knowledge gained from local efforts.

EC-LINC members learn from one another and advance solutions for the toughest challenges they face. They implement solutions, providing a real-time test of their effectiveness, in turn generating a deeper level of learning among the group. These solutions are observed, analyzed, and shared with the field as quickly as possible.

EC-LINC Partners

Fourteen exemplary communities with long histories of building effective early childhood systems are members of EC-LINC. Their perspectives and experiences are invaluable to guiding the work and solving common challenges faced by communities together. Member communities and their leading organizations include:

EC-LINC Current Activities

Building Blocks for Early Learning Communities. In partnership with the National League of Cities, three EC-LINC communities piloted and tested an Early Learning Community Action Guide and Progress Rating Tool.

DULCE: Pediatric Care and Social Determinants of Health. Five EC-LINC communities are in their third year of piloting the implementation of DULCE, a pediatric innovation embedded in early childhood systems, building the evidence for what it takes to adopt and adapt this approach in varying locations across the country.

Outcomes and Metrics for Early Childhood Systems. We are working with partners to define and measure how children and families are better off when we work to build well-functioning local early childhood systems, including how the early childhood system operates to influence those outcomes.

Parent Agency: Parent Voice and Leadership, Emphasizing Equity. Nine EC-LINC communities have joined together in a Community of Practice to advance family engagement in early childhood as a core strategy to advance equity and community empowerment.

Prenatal – Three: National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers. Ten EC-LINC communities are participating in a set of activities designed to increase the number of children developmentally on track for Kindergarten by addressing women’s prenatal needs and supporting child development from birth to age three.

Our Experts

Pasty Hampton

Patsy Hampton

Senior Associate and Director, EC-LINC
Cailin OConnor

Cailin O’Connor

Senior Associate
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