Policy and Advocacy

We work on public policy at the national, state and local levels to give all young children high-quality early childhood experiences.

Change the first five years and you change everything.

For more than 30 years we’ve helped policymakers understand the benefits of and the science behind early childhood education. We work with lawmakers and administrators to direct public funding toward early childhood programs that are proven to be effective.

Please visit our Illinois FY2018 budget page for the latest information on how the impasse is affecting our state, or the Early Childhood Advocacy Day page to learn about participating in that event.

Advocacy Tools

Parents, educators, program staff, community members—anyone can use these resources to speak up for and advocate on behalf of young children.

Illinois Policy Action Center

Learn the latest news about early childhood in Illinois, how decisions being considered at the state level may impact young children and families, and what you can do to help.

National Policy

Our national policy team builds on the experiences and lessons of our Illinois policy and advocacy work, and partners closely with state leaders across the country to help them raise and strengthen their own early childhood systems.

Local Community & School District Policy

We help district leadership and local policymakers strategize, develop, and implement policy initiatives that use early learning as a foundation to create stronger educational continuums.

First Five Years Fund

In 2007, the Ounce launched the First Five Years Fund to mobilize nationwide support for and increase federal investment in early childhood program.


We champion greater access to the following priority areas, as well as other high-quality early childhood services for at-risk young children and families—in Illinois and beyond: