National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness


School readiness begins with health. And for more than 50 years, EDC has advocated for the health and wellness of young children through its long-standing programmatic support of Head Start. This legacy continues with EDC’s work on the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW).

One of eight federal Centers, NCECHW advances best practices for linking health and early childhood education systems, health professionals, and families. EDC provides practical, high-quality, evidence-informed training and technical assistance (T/TA) to advance the development of comprehensive and coordinated health, safety, and wellness services within early childhood education (ECE) settings.

Key Activities

To support the Administration for Children and Families’ health and wellness goals for ECE programs, the T/TA that EDC and its partners provide includes:

  • Designing and delivering professional development and implementation support that builds the capacity of states, tribes, and agencies to meet the needs of low-income families
  • Compiling, developing, and disseminating resources on topics such as:
    • Health equity and medical and dental home access
    • Health promotion (including nutrition), disease prevention, and injury prevention
    • Children’s social and emotional development and mental health
    • Toxic stress, trauma-informed care, and caregiver substance misuse
    • Environmental safety, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery
    • Behavioral, vision, and hearing screening
    • Workforce competencies and health services management
  • Fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders to ensure that all pregnant women and all young children from birth to age five receive high-quality health and wellness services, particularly for the following:
    • Dual language learners
    • Children and families served by tribal early childhood programs and migrant and seasonal Head Start programs
    • Children in foster care
    • Children and families experiencing homelessness


  • NCECHW’s services help Head Start and Early Head Start programs improve the health, safety, and school success of over 1 million children in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, and American Indian, Alaskan Native and Migrant/Seasonal communities.
  • With funding from the Office of Child Care, NCECHW supports state, territory, and tribal child care in improving the health, safety, and school success of 12 million children from low-income families served by child care programs subsidized by the Child Care Development Fund.
  • Through NCECHW, EDC and its partners are building upon the hundreds of high-quality resources and trainings they provided from 2011 to 2015 through the Head Start National Center on Health.

Learn More

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau

American Academy of Pediatrics [prime]; Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development; Georgetown University’s National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center; University of California, Los Angeles, Health Care Institute