ZERO TO THREE Receives Funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Establish Early Childhood Evidence to Impact Center

Press Releases
September 6, 2022

Washington, D.C., September 6, 2022 – ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, today announced it has been awarded first-year funding of $4.2 million dollars as part of a multiyear grant from the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will support the establishment of the Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems Evidence to Impact National Center (the Center), focused on building early childhood systems to improve and strengthen the health and well-being of babies and toddlers’ most crucial years of development.

“This new Center marks an unprecedented opportunity on behalf of our infants and toddlers, and to be able to host it at ZERO TO THREE is a true honor,” stated Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE. “Investing in equity and family-centered early childhood systems is critical to address the most important developmental needs of babies and toddlers. Through the Center, we will be able to support states in their efforts to ensure that families have access to integrated health, early care and education services and family supports. We are thrilled to lead this transformational work alongside several of the nation’s leading early childhood and health system organizations, and we are immensely grateful to the Department of Health and Human Services for entrusting us with this responsibility.”

The Center will advance statewide systems of comprehensive early childhood development (ECD) promotion, screenings and interventions, including integration in pediatric primary care that improves outcomes and reduces disparities in early developmental health and family well-being. The goals of the Center are to increase implementation and evaluation of evidence-informed, equity-focused, system-level strategies among states; strengthen the evidence base in support of ECD systems-building; and expand delivery of high-quality ECD promotion and support services in pediatric settings through the Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood (TPEC) program. The Center will provide resources to three selected states to advance early childhood developmental health and support four statewide hubs working to increase the capacity of pediatric practices to deliver high-quality ECD services that address the holistic needs of children and families.

In addition, the Center will provide technical assistance to family, community and health provider leaders in at least 25 states tailored to support their unique roles in systems building in order to build capacity for ECD systems implementation. This critical multiyear work is a partnership of ZERO TO THREE, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Help Me Grow National Center, with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Family Voices, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and the Institute for Child Success.

Dr. Debbie Cheatham of ZERO TO THREE will lead the Center as its newly appointed director. “The continuum of care our babies and toddlers need to thrive is only as strong as the systems and programs that support them. The Center will be at the forefront to advance early childhood development, and we are so excited to get started,” stated Dr. Cheatham. 


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools, and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals, and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

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