Public Policy Agenda

A well-financed child care system plays an essential role in providing educational opportunities for children and in supporting economic stability and growth for families. Research shows that the most rapid period of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years, yet the way early care and education is funded does not align with what we know about early childhood development. Unlike K-12 education, birth-five opportunities are not considered a “public good.” Public policies and investments have historically reflected this sentiment which has led to educational and economic disparities, disproportionately impacting Black and Brown communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the fragility of and inequities in the early care and education system drawing attention to the struggle of early learning programs to hire and retain staff which impacts families’ ability to access child care.

While early care and education received historic funding in several COVID-19 relief packages, the funding expires in September 2024 and Pennsylvania will have a $1.5 billion shortfall for child care funds. The 2023–2027 Trying Together public policy agenda advocates for increased public investment and offers pathways for a more just and equitable early care and education system where children, families, educators, and communities can thrive.

Download the 2023-2027 Trying Together Public Policy Agenda (PDF).

2023-2027 Trying Together Public Policy Agenda

Invest significantly in and strengthen the early care and education system.

  • Advocate for investments to increase access, affordability, and quality.
  • Explore financial models for public funding.
  • Provide ongoing recommendations for regulations and standards to ensure equity and quality.

Elevate the early care and education profession.

  • Advocate for increased compensation reflective of care and education work.
  • Strengthen the pipeline for workforce recruitment, retention, and career advancement.
  • Center the expertise and voice of early care and education professionals.

Focus on equitable and developmentally appropriate care and education.

  • Prevent and reduce the use of harmful, exclusionary discipline practices.
  • Ensure access to early intervention and mental health services.
  • Promote anti-racist, culturally- and linguistically-responsive, equitable, and inclusive early childhood environments.
  • Advance developmentally appropriate practice in learning and teaching.
  • Elevate the critical role of play in children’s development and learning.

Build connections and leverage partnerships to support the health and wellness of families.

  • Strengthen resources to support perinatal health.
  • Advance Paid Family Medical Leave.
  • Promote fatherhood initiatives and resources.
  • Support the economic stability of families through access to child care subsidies and food and nutritional programs.
  • Enhance connections between housing and child care providers to bolster families access to care.
  • Collaborate with healthcare providers to connect families with resources to strengthen children’s physical health and development.
  • Address and eliminate lead exposure in children.

Get Public Policy Updates

To accomplish this important work, we need supporters who will join us to raise their voices, use traditional and social media, and meet with policy makers. By signing-on to our Public Policy Agenda, you’ll receive action alerts to advocate on behalf of young children, their families, and the early care and education professionals who interact with them. Enter your information below to sign-up for our public policy updates and take action:



2019-2020 Public Policy Agenda

The 2019-2020 Trying Together Public Policy Agenda outlines nine priorities to:

Do What’s Best for Children

Invest Adequately

Enhance Quality


Image: An early learning professional sits on the floor with three young children, playing together with a box of colored pencils and paper.
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