About the Campaign

About the Campaign

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) is leading a statewide effort to ensure that our state’s leaders Think Babies™ – our future depends on it! We’re putting “birth-to-3” on the public agenda and bringing attention to what infants and toddlers need to thrive: strong families, healthy starts and positive early learning environments.

Campaign Priorities

Affordable, Quality Child Care. We need to make sure every family has access to quality, affordable child care for their infants and toddlers, providing a strong foundation for early learning.

Paid Family Leave. We need to make sure parents know that they can access time to bond with their babies in the earliest months, when so much of their development is at stake.

Healthy Social-Emotional Development. Much like physical development, we need to foster a baby’s social and emotional health by ensuring resources and services are available to address their mental health.

Family Support through Home Visitation. We need to reach families where they live by providing expectant parents and parents of young children with essential supports to help nurture positive parent-child relationships and overall health and well-being.

As a lead partner in Right From The Start NJ and as a state grantee of the national ZERO TO THREE Think Babies campaign, ACNJ is advocating for better public policies and increased investments to support New Jersey’s youngest children and their families.

Partnerships and coalition-building is key to successful outcomes for children and families. New Jersey began its partnership with The Nicholson Foundation, the Turrell Fund and the Caucus Educational Fund in 2017 to launch Right From The Start NJ (RFTSNJ). This public awareness and advocacy campaign is aimed at promoting enriching early experiences and a strong foundation for development, right from the start. Not long after launching RFTSNJ, ACNJ was chosen to lead the statewide effort as one of six states selected for the national Think Babies campaign. Created by ZERO TO THREE, the goal of the Think Babies campaign is to to make the potential of every baby our national priority.

Whether advancing better policies or improving programs, partnerships among stakeholders are key to securing effective change. Led by ACNJ, the New Jersey Think Babies Coalition consists of more than 60 early childhood stakeholders in both private and public sectors, representing the collective voices of children and parents in New Jersey, and state officials who provide guidance and data. Coalition members support the campaign’s efforts to make babies a state priority with recommendations, outreach and communications.

We’re grateful for the work of all of our campaign partners on this critical effort.

To learn more about the critical importance of the early years of child development from birth to three visit RightFromTheStartNJ.org.

To learn more about issues affecting babies at the national level visit thinkbabies.org.

Our Supporters

Recent Success

February 2019 | New Jersey’s paid family leave passes in the legislature

Lawmakers move to improve paid family leave program in New Jersey | NJ Spotlight

New Jersey's paid family leave program is about to pay out much more | NJ.com

New Jersey workers could get twice as much time off with expanded family leave | NorthJersey.com

October 2018 | New Jersey expands of funding for child care by $38 million, with infant care as a priority

  • $30 million in federal funding to increase the child care subsidy rate by 25 percent, with higher increases for infant ($904/month) and toddler care ($761/month).
  • $1.2 million for incentives to centers that create new infant seats.
  • $6.8 million for grants to help providers improve quality and participate in the Grow NJ Kids quality rating system.

Policy changes that recognize higher costs for infant care and the importance of tiered reimbursement, that provides higher rates for increased quality ($14 million)

New state Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for families earning less than $60,000

May 2018 | Strolling Thunder

On May 21st, more than 300 advocates and families from across New Jersey rallied in front of the State House to let Governor Murphy and the Legislature know it’s time to make our youngest children a higher state priority.

Learn more about the event, view pictures and news coverage.