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Early Childhood-Child Welfare Partnerships

Early Childhood-Child Welfare (ECCW) partnerships envision increased collaboration among child welfare and early childhood systems to support and amplify positive outcomes for children prenatal to eight and their families.

Early Childhood refers to programs that offer early care and education to children, including Head Start and Child Care programs. These services and supports have the potential to alleviate the effects of early trauma or chronic stress. Explore ACF’s response and projects related to early adversity.

Child Welfare refers to the public child welfare system, a system that includes preventive, protective, and foster care, as well as adoption services for children who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing maltreatment.

Building Local Partnerships

There are many examples of cities and states where child welfare systems and early childhoods have successful partnerships. These tips and tools offer your agency a way to get started in creating partnerships in your community.

ECCW Research and Reports

ACF and other organizations have pulled together recommendations and research regarding the potential contributions that child welfare agencies and early childhood program can jointly make to improve outcomes for children and families. The resulting reports include:

About the ECCW

The federal Early Childhood-Child Welfare (ECCW) Partnership was formally brought together in 2009 among federal agencies to enhance collaboration between child welfare and early childhood communities. This group informs and influences the development of federal policies, programs and research impacting young children, especially those involved with the child welfare system. Furthermore, the ECCW partnership fosters communication, coordination and collaboration across early childhood and child welfare systems at the federal, state, and local levels. The partnership includes ACF's Offices of Child Care and Head Start and the Children's Bureau.

For more information, contact Kiersten Beigel, Office of Head Start, or Elaine Stedt, Children’s Bureau.

Last Reviewed: November 4, 2020