The New Haven Early Childhood Council was formed in 1997 under state statute to increase local community involvement in decisions about early care and education. Council representation draws upon New Haven’s long history of parent and community engagement on issues of education and family development and brings together community members who share a desire to improve the lives of young children and their families. In 2002, the Council expanded its focus based on the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Universal Access to Early Care and Education.

The Leadership Work Group formed a New Haven Early Childhood Plan Task Force to encourage broader community input.  Task Force meetings involved more than 130 participants including parents, educators, health care providers and representatives of family support, government and non-profit organizations.  The Task Force organized members in three committees: 1) Early Care and Education, 2) Family Engagement, and 3) Health.

The Plan development process drew on a long history of parent and community engagement in issues of education and family development in New Haven, and called upon New Haven’s unique wealth of professional expertise and community knowledge.

In 2008/2009 the Council, with support from the Graustein Memorial Fund, state and local government and philanthropy, developed its long-term strategic plan. The Plan is a roadmap for our community to help us create the opportunities, supports and experiences that young children need to reach their full potential. New Haven’s Early Childhood Plan builds on what we know about the importance of the early childhood years, taps the skills and experience of our large corps of dedicated early childhood professionals and advocates, and lays out what we must do to enable New Haven’s families and youngest children to succeed in getting ready for school and life.

In 2012, the Council began the process of refining the plan and identifying priority action steps.