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Early Childhood

Children’s experiences in their first years of life are crucial to healthy physical, emotional and intellectual development. Healthy environments wherever children live, learn and play support growth in all aspects of a child's development.

The Healthy North Dakota Early Childhood Alliance (HNDECA), comprised of an impressive group of over 50 agency, parent and advocacy organization representatives, developed as part of efforts to build a comprehensive plan for early childhood in the state of North Dakota. To support families and communities in their development of children that are healthy and ready to learn at school entry, collaborations and partnerships are being built through the HNDECA.

Funding for this initiative, called the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Grant, is from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The goal of the ECCS grant is to develop and implement collaborations and partnerships to support families and communities in their development of children, ages 0 to 8, who are healthy and ready to learn at school entry. The role of HNDECA was to oversee the process, to assure that it met federal guidelines and to be good stewards of the planning funds.

The five essential areas in the planning phase of this initiative include Access to Health Insurance and Medical Home, Mental Health and Social/Emotional Development, Early Care and Education/Childcare, Family Support and Parent Education. Some of the key goals developed include:


  • To establish critical pathways, including checks and balances, for (childcare) licensure standards and practices to assure uniformity of delivery statewide.
  • To assure that all North Dakota communities will involve families in planning and implementation of children’s mental health programs and services.
  • To increase the number of health and dental care provider practices that incorporate the seven medical home core components (care that is accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate and culturally effective).
  • To assure that all parents, and persons in a parental role, of children aged birth through eight have access to parenting education.


Healthy North Dakota Early Childhood Alliance
For more information about the Healthy North Dakota Early Childhood Alliance or if you are interested in joining, contact:

Cheryle Masset-Martz
Director, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Program, ND Department of Health

Linda Rorman
Program Administrator, Early Childhood, ND Department of Human Services