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We Are ECI: Strategic Plan 2023-2026

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Our Vision for Iowa's Children

“Every child, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful.”

Early Childhood Iowa is tasked with ensuring that our young children are healthy, ready to succeed in school, grow up in safe and supportive communities with secure and nurturing families, and have access to secure and nurturing early learning environments.

Guiding Principles of the Strategic Plan

Children and Families Are Our "North Star"

Effective partnerships with families allow us to truly understand needs and how best to address them.


We commit to shared leadership with communities of color and other underserved and underrepresented groups to work toward equitable access and outcomes for all children and families in our state.

Brain Science

The decisions we make about what services to provide, when, and for whom are grounded in the science of brain development.

Data is a Valuable Resource

We commit to using data in service of the public good -- to support Iowa’s children and families.

Diverse Partnerships

We cannot do this work alone. We recognize that our goals and proposed actions require the input, expertise, and collaboration of multiple partners within and across our comprehensive early childhood system.


We commit to transparency and inclusion throughout all phases of our work.

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Goals of the Strategic Plan for Iowa

  • Expand collaboration and coordination among state and local programs and agencies serving young children and their families.
  • Develop and nurture effective public-private partnerships at a state and local level.
  • Infuse data-based discussions and decision-making processes throughout the early childhood system.

  • Communicate the value of the first 2,000 days as the most critical stage of the human lifecycle.
  • Partner with families and communities to improve communication about what young children and families need and how the system responds.
  • Engage families as leaders and advocates for a comprehensive early childhood system.

  • Create a larger, more skilled early childhood workforce
  • Provide new or expanded early childhood workforce supports to enhance the quality of early childhood programs and services.

  • Improve equitable access to early learning opportunities and services for vulnerable and underserved children and families.
  • Expand and improve access to high quality early learning opportunities and services for young children and their families.
  • Improve transitions among early childhood programs and between the early childhood and K-12 education systems.

  • Promote and incentivize the use of evidence-based programs and services across the early childhood system.
  • Adopt a collective impact approach to investing in high-quality, evidence-based services, programs and activities across the early childhood system.

Results-Based Progress Indicators

Based on the goals and strategies outlined above, ECI will measure progress and outcomes  related to the desired results of having healthy children, ready to succeed in school, living in safe and nurturing families and communities, and learning in secure and nurturing environments.

View Fiscal year Annual Reports

Learn More About the ECI Strategic Plan

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