Skip links

A Lifeline for Families

Our Impact: Improving the Lives of Abused or Neglected Babies
Single mom Pauline battled with alcohol misuse but found critical support to turn her life around and become a confident parent.
Discover More
Our Impact: Improving the Lives of Abused or Neglected Babies

A Lifeline for Families

Our Safe Babies Court Team™ approach to transforming the child welfare system ensures abused or neglected infants and toddlers receive developmentally appropriate services and reach their “forever” homes as quickly as possible.

The approach—which engages teams of judges, attorneys, early education and health care providers, the child welfare agency and others—is changing lives of babies and families in 29 states.

Among the beneficiaries are Pauline and her daughter, Donaria, who was born on the spectrum for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders due to Pauline’s substance misuse. Their foster care journey was guided by the Safe Babies Court Team in Pulaski County, Arkansas, who helped make significant and lasting positive changes that affected her entire family. By actively participating in substance use disorder treatment, mental health therapy, and enhanced life-skills development, Pauline carved out a path for housing and employment stability and took control of her sobriety. Donaria now thrives under her mother’s confident parenting.

At a time when the narrative around child welfare is often focused on the failures of a broken system, families who partner with Safe Babies are embraced by an approach that is finding solutions to the barriers that families face as they feel supported and strengthened.



Recurrence of maltreatment (compared to national standard of 9.1%)
Reach permanency while in foster care in 12 months (compared to national standard of 40.5%)

*Casanueva, C., Harris, S., Carr, C., Smith, K., & Burfeind, C. (2018). Quality Improvement Center for Research-Based Infant-Toddler Court Teams: Summary. Washington, DC: ZERO TO THREE.

Learn More

Building Bridges with Purpose

Our Impact: Transforming the Promise of Pediatric Care
Rachel finds her calling as a pediatric psychologist and leads the opening of three HealthySteps clinics in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Discover More
Our Impact: Transforming the Promise of Pediatric Care

Building Bridges with Purpose

“I love being a support, a guide, a contortionist — whatever it is that families need me to be.”

As a college student living abroad,  Rachel Herbst accompanied Czech nurses providing medical care to those battling addiction and poverty. She saw firsthand the importance of forming relationships to help those in need. So, instead of pursuing a career as a pediatrician, Rachel took a detour. She decided “to be a bridge for families” and help them obtain essential medical and health care for their children.

Now a pediatric psychologist, she was instrumental in launching ZERO TO THREE’s groundbreaking HealthySteps program at three clinics in Cincinnati, Ohio. She serves as a HealthySteps Specialist at the city’s Hopple Street Neighborhood Health Clinic. She is also lead psychologist overseeing integrated behavioral health services in pediatric primary care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“I love being a support, a guide, a contortionist—whatever it is that families need me to be,” Rachel says. Hopple Street’s patient population has experienced trauma and economic hardship, and they often have limited support and encouragement while raising children. “I am inspired by the families as they navigate things that would knock other people down,” she says.

Through the HealthySteps network, Rachel is supported by more than 250 child development professionals integrated into pediatric primary care teams across the country. They work tirelessly to address families’ common and complex concerns, such as feeding, behavior, sleep, adapting to life with a baby and detecting early developmental delays.

For Rachel, HealthySteps’ impact is far-reaching. “It helps to chip away at the intergenerational cycle of poverty that runs so strong,” she says. “(The program is) the glue needed in communities so that families have connections in safe places. It is a port of entry to redesign how we think about health care.” Through HealthySteps, we are transforming the promise of pediatric care.

— Rachel Herbst,      Pediatric Psychologist
— Rachel Herbst, Pediatric Psychologist

HealthySteps 2019: Growth At-a-Glance

Total Sites
New Sites, including sites in Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi and two military bases
HealthySteps Specialists
Children Served
Learn More

A Special Connection

Our Impact: Supporting Professionals Who Strengthen Families
Ava, a seasoned early care educator, finds new inspiration and improves her caretaking skills through our professional development course.
Discover More
Our Impact: Supporting Professionals Who Strengthen Families

A Special Connection

When Ava, a seasoned infant-toddler educator from Reno, Nevada, attended a ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ course sponsored by her employer, she was initially disinterested. But her mind changed when she realized the class was designed for infant-toddler educators at every stage of their career. Ava became a committed learner, a reflective educator and grew personally and professionally.

By the second session, Ava shared how she implemented what she learned in her work – being more intentional about making eye contact with babies and talking with children at eye-level. While feeding a baby, Ava said, “I looked at the baby in my arms and saw that he was looking right at me. He had always been looking at me. I suddenly realized that all the babies I had fed over the years were looking at me and that I had missed those opportunities. I felt so sorry to have missed those moments and vowed to never miss another. Thank you for creating this training that helped me to see this.”

In 2019, our expert team of curriculum and content development specialists provided high-quality learning experiences to more than 13,000 professionals worldwide. We also launched ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators online, which offers the full course of 13 one-hour modules through our on-demand Learning Center.

Beyond our best-in-class professional development offerings, ZERO TO THREE Membership has its privileges. Celebrating its third anniversary, our Membership program has a vibrant and growing network of 3,600 professionals from the U.S. and 283 international members representing 41 countries. Each member has access to a treasure trove of benefits, including exclusive online resources, unlimited access to virtual events, a ZERO TO THREE Journal subscription and much more.

Learn More

The Place to Be

Our Impact: Supporting Professionals Who Strengthen Families

Early childhood professionals from around the world come together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and dive into our most immersive conference to date.

Learn More

More than 3,000 people gathered in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference 2019. The theme was “Dive In,” and attendees were immersed in the latest research and best practices in early childhood development, with more than 70 sessions featuring renowned experts and a wide range of networking opportunities.

Attendees were abuzz about three new, exciting features. At the beginning of every plenary session, the introductory speaker led a mindfulness exercise, prompting attendees to tap into their inner calm and be fully present in the moment. Every attendee of the Mindfulness Issue-Intensive session received our newly released guide, Getting Started with Mindfulness: A Toolkit for Early Childhood Organizations.

Between sessions, we held Baby Talks, short TED-style conversations bringing the most innovative and inspiring ideas to address challenges in early childhood development. Throughout the conference, we broadcasted Annual Conference LIVE! online featuring interviews about hot topics and current events that impact the lives of babies. Participants returned home ready to dive into their work with new knowledge
and a renewed sense of urgency.

Unique Website Visitors

There is Strength in Our Numbers

By The Numbers

There is Strength in Our Numbers

By The Numbers
Organizational Members
Professionals Trained
Number of Policy Network Members
Number of Media Articles Reflecting Preferred Issue Framing
Downloads of Organization’s Materials
Number of Video Views
Unique Website Visitors

*The print version of the 2019 Annual Report misstated the total number of professionals trained. In fiscal year 2019, ZERO TO THREE trained 41,464 professionals.

Unconditional Caregiving

See family stories, get survey results and download resources at:

Unconditional Caregiving

See family stories, get survey results and download resources at:


Recognizing for many families that grandparents are the cornerstone of early child care, we partnered with the Bezos Family Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to commission Grand Plan, a national survey to better understand the experiences and needs of grandparent caregivers. The results: while 94% of grandparents say they love caring for their grandchildren, they face challenges in navigating the process of sharing the care. Based on needs identified in the survey, we developed a suite of resources for families and organizations, including a video series with families sharing their “grand” caregiving stories.  The videos have received rave reviews with over 4,500 views.

1 in 4
Children under age 5 are cared for by their grandparent on a regular basis
Discover More
Our Impact: Advocating for Policies and Programs that Help Babies

Dear Congress, We’re Coming to Visit

When Shawnnita gave birth to her son, Kaden, she and her husband, Jason, were filled with joy. Like most first-time parents, they cherished looking into his eyes and envisioning his future. But their dreams were quickly overshadowed by dread when doctors informed them that their baby was born with a severe gastrointestinal condition. Kaden would require a lengthy stay in the NICU, a battery of medical tests, costly medications and numerous doctor visits.

After exhausting her paid time off from work to give birth and care for Kaden, Shawnnita faced a difficult dilemma: take unpaid leave to continue caring for her sick infant son or go back to work full-time to pay for mounting medical expenses.

In April 2019, Shawnnita, Jason and Kaden traveled from their home in Fort Worth, Texas, to join 50 other families we brought from every state and the District of Columbia to storm Capitol Hill for the national Strolling Thunder™, a marquee event of Think Babies™, now in its third year. Families met with members of Congress and shared their stories about what their babies need to thrive.

Reflecting on the event, Shawnnita shared, “I am grateful for this experience, and I’m excited my family will forever be a part of it.”


Making a difference on capitol hill

Dedicated advocates
National and state organization partners
Meetings with Congressional Offices
Learn More
Discover More
Our Impact: Advocating for Policies and Programs that Help Babies

Big Wins for Babies

The time to make babies a national priority is now. That’s why we work tirelessly alongside baby champions and our partners on Capitol Hill, in state capitals and state agencies and on social media to urge leaders to do better for our nation’s future by enacting policies built on the science of early brain development and creating budgets that put babies and families first. Together, we have helped achieve important wins for babies at the federal level*:

  • $100 million for Early Head Start
  • $550 million increase for the Child Care and Development
    Block Grant (CCDBG)
  • $7 million for Early Intervention Services
  • $2 million for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

*Fiscal Year 2020 funding increases

At the state level, we are also seeing important wins driven by our Think Babies™ and IECMH Financing Policy Project state partners, such as expansion of paid family and medical leave benefits, increases in child care subsidy rates for infants and toddlers and increased access to IECMH services.

$550 Million
million Increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

To tell the story about what it is like to be a very young child in this country and where we are headed as a nation, ZERO TO THREE, in collaboration with Child Trends, published the State of Babies Yearbook: 2019. This first-of-its-kind resource compares national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers.

The data are clear: Where a baby is born makes a big difference in their chance for a strong start in life. All states need to do better for babies. Far too many children living in poverty and children of color face persistent hardships, such as food insecurity, unstable housing, and limited access to quality child care, which undermine their ability to grow and thrive.

This new resource has become an invaluable tool for advocates and policymakers alike to connect data to policy and empower more baby champions.

1 in 4
American babies lives in poverty
12 million
Infants and toddlers in the United States
of America's babies are children of color

Quick Facts

Yearbook hand-delivered to every office on Capitol Hill

Local and national media hits
Discover More

2019 Financials

Revenue Allocation

Federal & State Gov Grants and Contracts - 48.3%

Private Grants, Contributions, and Contracts - 39.3%

Program Service Revenue - 10.8%

Investment Income - 1.6%

Expense Allocation

Program Services - 83.1%

General & Administrative - 15.9%

Program Service Revenue - 1%

Baby Champions

Highlighting Our Heroes
Inspiring Our Vision

Inspiring Our Vision

Jeree Pawl | Founding Board Member

Living legend in early childhood and founding Board Member Jeree Pawl is honored with the Zero To Three Lifetime Achievement.

Baby Champions

Inspiring Our Vision

Jeree H. Pawl was there at the beginning over forty years ago. As a founding member and former ZERO TO THREE Board President, Jeree is a fount of knowledge and guiding influence for our work. Her personal ethos, “How you are is as important as what you do,” has become a centering principle for ZERO TO THREE’s core values.

“I have loved being a member of ZERO TO THREE from the beginning,” says
Jeree, a clinical psychologist who spent her long and illustrious career at the
University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). Jeree founded USCF’s Infant-
Parent Program at San Francisco General Hospital and served as its director. She led groundbreaking work to provide mental health consultation in child care centers and through home-visiting programs.

Early in her life, Jeree was attracted to the field of infant and childhood mental health. “I think I was probably wise enough to know that what kind of childhood you had made a difference in who you were,” she says. “If you made a difference early on, you probably could help someone have a different life than they otherwise would.”

Jeree’s work in the field continues to inspire and inform our work today, as well as that of professionals throughout the early childhood field. Most importantly, Jeree has made a difference in the lives of many children and families. For all her contributions and accomplishments,  Jeree was honored with the 2019 ZERO TO THREE Lifetime Achievement Award.

“If I could wave a wand, all the children in the world would be properly nurtured and cared for. The more ZERO TO THREE can have an effect, the larger it grows, the more people join in,” she says. “I think it’s terribly crucial to continue to insist on the importance of the experiences that children have when they’re small.”

Leading Change from the Inside Out

Leading Change from the Inside Out

Nucha Isarowong | ZERO TO THREE Fellow

ZERO TO THREE Fellow Nucha rallies the Academy of Fellows and launches a successful peer-to-peer giving campaign.

Baby Champions

Leading Change from the Inside Out

Nucha Isarowong is a 2012–2013 alumnus of The ZERO TO THREE Fellowship esteemed leadership development program, which empowers diverse professionals across disciplines and sectors to be “changemakers” in transforming programs, systems and policies that impact the lives of infants, toddlers and their families.

“My experience was life-changing. It provided the opportunity for me to deepen and expand my understanding of systemic barriers and inequities that families from diverse and marginalized communities must navigate to raise their children,” Nucha says. “I continue to be driven by the collective goal to integrate principles of diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the infant and early childhood mental health field.”

Nucha is living his passion as the director of the Advanced Clinical Training Program at the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development in Seattle, Washington. He also serves on the Coordinating Council of the Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows. In Fall 2019, the Council launched its first fundraising campaign to support the leadership development program.

The Fellows took an innovative approach and launched ZERO TO THREE’s first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Through their efforts, they surpassed their goal by raising over $20,000.

Nucha is proud of the campaign success and considers ZERO TO THREE his
professional home. He believes deeply in the transformative power of the Academy of Fellows. “There’s something about meeting kindred spirits whose
beliefs, values and perspectives align on so many levels,” says Nucha.

1255 23rd Street NW, Suite 350
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202-638-1144

© 2020 ZERO TO THREE. All Rights Reserved.

Your support ensures that every baby has the chance to thrive. Give today.