The javascript used on this site for creative design effects is not supported by your browser. Please note that this will not affect access to the content on this web site.
Skip Navigation
H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

A-Z Index  |  Questions? 

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems
  • Print this
  • Email this

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems brings together primary care providers, teachers, families, and caregivers to develop seamless systems of care for a children in the critical formative years from birth to age 3. Working with health care providers, social services and child care and early childhood education programs, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems help children grow up healthy and ready to learn by addressing their physical, emotional and social health in a broad-based and coordinated way. 

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems: Building Health Through Integration grants are awarded to States and organizations with significant experience developing and implementing statewide strategies to build systems that improve the health of young children. Grantees partner with other providers and programs to better integrate and improve services for young children. The resulting systems 

  • Increase access to health care
  • Identify and manage social, emotional, and behavioral risks
  • Improve early care and promote early learning
  • Educate parents and caregivers about healthy child development
  • Provide support for families and caregivers

Why Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems?

Scientific research shows that healthy early child development is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society. Our brains are built over time, from the bottom up. Early experiences affect the quality of the brain's architecture, by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health, and behavior that follow. In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. After that, the connections are pruned so that the brain works more efficiently (source: Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development, 2010).

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems works to ensure that these critical first few years provide a solid foundation for brain development.


Grantees choose one of three strategies for achieving the goals of the program:

  1. Reduce negative influences on early development (often referred to as toxic stress).
  2. Increase developmental screening of young children to identify and treat problems early.
  3. Improve the quality of child care by increasing the adoption of accepted child care standards. 
Home Visiting

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting is one of several service strategies within  a comprehensive, high-quality early childhood system. ECCS supports and enhances home visiting.

Go to: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting