Early Childhood Development
As of 2020, New Jersey is home to 513,951 infants and toddlers aged 0-5, 29.9% of whom live in households with an income less than twice the federal poverty level (FPL). 12% of families live below the FPL. 57% of NJ’s infants and toddlers are children of color – 13.3% Non-Hispanic Black, 30.4% Hispanic, 3.6% Non-Hispanic Other, 8.8% Non-Hispanic Asian, and 0.1% American Indian/Alaska Native. A disproportionately high number of infants and toddlers of color live in poverty in NJ – 32.5% of NJ’s Non-Hispanic Black young children and 20.1% of Hispanic young children compared to 6.3% of Non-Hispanic White young children.1
A recent report on ACEs in NJ noted that in 2016, more than 40% of NJ’s children experienced one or more ACEs, and for children under five, that percentage was 33%.2 In 2021, over 17,000 families in NJ received TANF and 393,000 families received SNAP. 160,000 families were enrolled in WIC, with 89% receiving services.3 In 2020, there were 73,726 reports of child abuse and neglect, with 3,134 substantiated cases. 3,717 children were placed out of home, with an additional 27, 332 receiving in-home supervision services.4
New Jersey SEEDlings: Supporting Equity in Early Development
The purpose of New Jersey SEEDlings is to transform the way pediatric primary care is delivered for the prenatal-to-five-year-old (P-5) population who are eligible for NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid or CHIP) or are uninsured, by enhancing the capacity of NJ’s early childhood workforce to deliver equitable, high quality early childhood development (ECD) services that meet the needs of young children and their families.
Over the four-year project period, the New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP) and partners will improve early developmental and social-emotional health, school readiness, family well-being, and health equity outcomes for the P-5 population by using a four-pronged approach: