The Importance of

Health & Well-Being

 The healthy development of our youngest children is vital to the social and economic health of Wisconsin. Optimal physical, mental, social and emotional health of infants, toddlers and their families is critical in moving toward a future where all are able to thrive.

Unparalleled Brain Development

takes place during a child’s first five years of life. A growing base of evidence illustrates that what happens during this earliest period can have substantial effects on learning and behavior outcomes, and physical and mental health.

Regular well-child visits

are critical for infants and toddlers in preventing disease, tracking growth and development, caregivers raising any concerns and fostering a team approach with strong relationships between families and clinicians.

IT IS CRITICAL To

use effective strategies for building families’ capacity to support young children’s social and emotional development. Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) is an effective collaborative intervention for building parent/caregiver capacity to support optimal development, enhancing emotional regulation strategies, addressing challenging behaviors and mental health needs of infants and very young children in the context of relationships and across multiple systems of care. Evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs provide critical support to parents and have been shown to reduce abuse and neglect, and improve birth outcomes and child school-readiness.

language and literacy

programs are vital for closing skill gaps experienced by children from families of lower socioeconomic status. Programs that support parents as their child’s first and best teacher are effective at enhancing children’s language, social-emotional and school-readiness skills. This is most effective when combined with guidance, education and literacy supports from trusted medical professionals.

wisconsin continues

to face a growing health crisis disproportionately affecting families of color. The state has the highest Black infant mortality rate in the nation: Black babies in Wisconsin are almost three times as likely to die before their first birthday than their white counterparts. Sustaining community-and group-based models of prenatal care is important to addressing this ongoing crisis. At the same time, research shows that doula care is one high-value model that improves childbirth outcomes and increases care quality. This support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period reduces a number of negative outcomes, including prematurity and illness in newborns and the likelihood of postpartum depression.

Dig In Further

Brain & Body

Read more about the deep links between early childhood development, environments, experiences and lifelong health.

Developmental Delays

Research shows babies born in the pandemic are showing delays in certain skills and are developing behavior challenges.

Power of Positive

Positive childhood experiences build a foundation for one’s ability to cope and thrive throughout life.

Vital Maternal Support

Care and support from doulas is one strategy being used to address the state’s Black infant mortality crisis.