Early Childhood

Counties For Kids

Find tools and resources for counties to support the well-being of young children

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The Importance of Prenatal-to-Three (PN-3)

The first three years of a child’s life are the “bricks and mortar” of brain development - building the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health. Evidence shows that when we invest the early years, infants and toddlers become healthy children who are confident, empathetic, and ready for school and life. Communities and governments can provide parents with the support they need to succeed and thrive.  Programs and policies impacting these early years should ensure healthy beginnings at birth, support families with young children and make high-quality child care and learning environments more accessible and affordable to all parents who want them.

Counties Matter

Counties play a major role in shaping early childhood systems and investing in core services for infants and toddlers that help to support a thriving community and positively impacting outcomes into adulthood. Every county in the United States administers and funds part of the cost of strengthening communities and families with young children. Counties routinely provide an array of programs and services to an estimated 16 million children ages zero to three in the United States and are responsible for addressing the needs of young children, and their families, by administering and coordinating PN-3 services including child care, health and prenatal care, early intervention, home visiting, maternal health screenings, parent classes and early literacy programs. 

PN-3 Resources for Counties

The National Association of Counties Research Foundation (NACoRF) is a non-profit organization recognized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 public charity providing education, technical assistance and research to counties. NACoRF’s mission is to ascertain, develop and distribute knowledge about county governments and training of public officials, prospective public officials, and other interested parties. NACoRF assists America’s 3,069 counties -- including nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees-- in pursuing excellence to produce healthy, vibrant, safe and resilient counties. NACoRF has taken the lead in four major areas: best practice research, peer learning, education and training, and convening among government and private-sector leaders. Through its efforts, NACoRF helps counties find innovative solutions to local challenges and provides high-quality, evidence-based information to guide policies, decision-making and programming. Click here to find more information and resources for counties in launching and supporting a local PN-3 initiative in your community.


  • Associate Program Director – Children, Youth and Families  
    (202) 942-4251

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