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Partner State Services

Each year, the BUILD Initiative State Services Team works closely with early childhood leaders and their cross-sector teams in partner states to create and improve systems that help children and families thrive.

BUILD's current state partners —

Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, Ohio, Washington State, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Our team also works with Alabama, California, Minnesota, and New Jersey on racial and health equity through HOPE.

Our Consultation Approach

The State Services Team is made up of active listeners who are responsive to the pace and interests of state leaders. BUILD can be a useful, outside perspective—but our organization is not value-neutral. BUILD is transparent about our organizational assumptions and values. Our team believes the path to creating an early childhood system that produces positive outcomes for each and every young child and their family is paved with cross-sector efforts and centered on equity—including lifting up the achievements and voices of community contributors and intended beneficiaries.

The State Services Team helps state leaders:

  • Identify and establish key strategic goals.
  • Align interests across individual leaders.
  • Understand and activate the common agenda and different roles of the public and private sectors.
  • Strike a balance between immediate needs and concerns and progress toward the long-term vision and goals.
  • Extend state capacity.
  • Develop or enhance a continuous improvement approach.
  • Create—in collaboration with our communications team—tools, and resources to help highlight a state team’s work and build support within their state.
  • Document, communicate, and evaluate work to capture decision-points, progress, and next steps that can be shared broadly with constituents.

BUILD Partner States Develop:

  • A cross-sector team embedded in the state’s infrastructure to act as the core group engaged with BUILD. This team is responsible for early childhood policy implementation and improvement.
  • Multiple systems involved at the beginning of a partnership with BUILD. At a minimum, the cross-sector team includes leaders from early learning and health or early learning and economic development.
  • A shared vision across systems for young children and families and the actions to advance toward that vision.
  • Outcomes that benefit individual agencies and the cross-sector team.
  • A commitment to equity. The partner state teams are committed to tailoring programs, services, and initiatives to those furthest from opportunity due to historical injustice—including removing barriers to access and distribution of resources. Teams work to embed this equity commitment in each of the agencies and entities seeking to serve young children and their families.
  • Data-driven decision-making that includes the use of disaggregated, qualitative data, as well as qualitative data that emphasizes the voice of community contributors and the intended beneficiaries of the programs and services.
  • A commitment to a cycle of quality improvement for the systems building efforts and within the policy development and implementation process.
  • Leadership at all levels involved in early childhood systems development. Teams may be composed primarily of one level of leadership (e.g., mid-level managers), but the early childhood systems work within a state involves providers, commissioners, directors, governor’s staff, community leaders, county executives, city leaders, and many others.

Our work with state teams is characterized by respect for community contributors and beneficiary voices. Leaders in communities of color and under-resourced communities have fought against structural and institutional barriers to opportunity and have created many community solutions. State leaders often are unfamiliar with these historic and current efforts and rarely hear the voices of these leaders. BUILD encourages state teams to tap into this community experience and expertise.

The BUILD Initiative also helps state leaders engage beneficiary voices. Engaging the voices, perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse families and communities furthest from opportunity is critical to good policymaking. It is a fundamental democratic and racial justice principle that those most affected by policies, programs, regulations, and other institutional and systemic factors have a right to sit at the policy table.

State Benefits

  • Dedicated BUILD liaison for regular consultation and support.
  • Individualized, flexible technical assistance and connection with content experts as needed.
  • Two cross-state partner meetings a year.
  • Cross-state calls and webinars.

Effective racial equity outcomes are difficult to achieve without the voices of community contributors and those most affected by policies, programs, and services.

Explore State Services Resources

State Services Team


Sherri Killins Stewart, Ed.D.
Director of Systems Alignment and Integration and Co-Director of State Services

Carey McCann
Co-Director of State Services


DC   Debi Mathias
IL     Gail Nourse and Aisha Ray
MI    Carey McCann and Cynthia Tate
MN   Sherri Killins Stewart
OH   Sherri Killins Stewart and Maisha Giles

OR   Carey McCann
SC   Cynthia Tate
TX    Sherri Killins Stewart and Maisha Giles
WI    Maisha Giles and Sherri Killins Stewart