Since the foundations for learning begins even before birth, the Ounce focuses on the healthy development of children from their earliest stages of life. Lack of health care and prevention services or delays in treating health problems can negatively affect children’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physical development and their ability to learn. The Ounce advocates for the most effective delivery of preventive health and developmental services for young children in pediatric and primary health-care settings.
The Ounce also advocates for low-income pregnant women to have access to prenatal visits, child birth education, nutrition counseling, and screening for postpartum depression.
The Illinois policy team works to strengthen the integration of health and early childhood in order to support children’s healthy development and school readiness. The Ounce advocates for adequate and comprehensive health care services for Illinois children and pregnant women and supports the Illinois All Kids and FamilyCare healthcare program, Medicaid expansion and care coordination efforts and partners with Illinois Health Connect, an initiative to create better medical access for young children and their families. The Ounce also works to strengthen linkages between early childhood and health providers and to promote child health as a key component of a comprehensive child development approach.