The First Eight Years

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This KIDS COUNT policy report (The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success) details how a child’s early development from birth through age 8 is essential to making an effective transition into elementary school and for long-term academic achievement.

To prepare all of America’s children to succeed, this document sets forth broad policy recommendations. This policy
report makes the case for an integrated and comprehensive system of services that meets the needs of all children from birth through age 8, as well as their families.

This policy report also features data on early childhood development for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. The findings in this policy report suggest that high-quality early childhood programs that include supports for families have a powerful and lasting impact on children as they progress through school and into adulthood. With such evidence on their side, elected officials, advocates and other policymakers are well positioned to make the case for a comprehensive and integrated birth through age 8 system that ensures all children have a real chance to succeed and contribute to a stronger nation.


  1. Support parents so they can effectively care and provide for their children.
  2. Increase access to high-quality, integrated programs for children from birth through age 8, beginning with investments that target low-income children.
  3. Develop comprehensive, integrated programs and data systems to address all aspects of children’s development and support their transition to elementary school and related programs for school-age children.

See also

Kids Count
Annie E. Casey Foundation

External links

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

KIDS COUNT Data Center