Diversity and Equity in Early Childhood Systems

The United States is becoming more diverse, and children are leading the way. By 2020, there will be no “majority" group among the youngest members of our society.

Recent census figures show that 45% of all young children from birth to age four (0-4) in the United States are children of color. And the diversity of young children will continue to grow.

One in five young children today is learning both a home language and English simultaneously. Designing an early childhood system that is responsive to the needs of all children is key to both these children’s and the nation’s future.

BUILD supports state leaders through tailored technical assistance, capacity building, and peer learning opportunities to help them address a number of gaps that exist in child outcomes and opportunities, as well as in system capacity and response. These gaps – by income, race/ethnicity, language, and culture – may be characterized by significant differences in:

  • Opportunities for children to enter kindergarten ready to achieve their full potential
  • The extent to which families are able to or choose to participate in formal services, particularly health services, preschool programs, and other formal care arrangements
  • The extent to which leaders and staff are prepared to support or assess young children who are culturally and linguistically diverse
  • The extent to which leaders and staff reflect the diversity of the children and families they serve
  • The extent to which diverse stakeholders are authentically engaged in planning and decision-making.
BUILD provides resources that describe these issues in depth and profile pioneering efforts within states to address these gaps. Resources in this section may be used to learn about the body of research and evidence that should undergird policies and practices and to assess current strategies for the extent to which they purposely support each child and family.