Harnessing public policy to improve outcomes for children 

ICS provides a range of policy research services focused on early childhood, both through contracted projects and self-directed research. We are committed to applied policy research—conducting research which informs policymaking and studying policy to inform the research literature. ICS works with all levels of government as well as community-based organizations to understand which policies can help achieve their specific goals; how to carefully implement those policies to avoid unintended consequences; and how lessons learned can be used to continue to move the field forward.  

ICS also provides, either in combination with policy research or as a separate project, support for advocacy to move from recommendations to reality. Advocacy support is tailored to the particular stakeholders, issues, and philanthropic and political landscape of each community. Advocacy support is not lobbying, but rather an opportunity to work with stakeholders to build a roadmap toward their goals, merging their expertise on local conditions and opportunities with our experience working on policy advocacy at local, state, and federal levels. Drawing from our work with communities across the country, we advocate for policies and investments that promote strong outcomes for young children and their families. 

Contact Megan Carolan to learn more about our Policy Research, and Deborah DePaoli to learn more about our Advocacy Support.   

Examples of Our Work

  • Working with a local community impact group to understand areas of concern for young children and develop a potential cross-sector investment to implement new programs.  
  • Identifying the potential impact of community-provided doulas to help address maternal health outcomes and potential funding structures to ensure sustainable financing.  
  • Collaborating with state and local advocates and providers to understand their concerns related to pediatric mental health and develop a research-based “roadmap” of policy strategies from other communities. 
  • Conducting equity-centered trainings, analyses and strategic guidance.  


“(ICS’s) core pieces of work have created avenues for new partnership and deeper understanding of the Reach Out and Read impact in the region.” 

– Callee Boulware, Executive Director, Reach Out and Read Carolinas 

“The process of developing the brief turned out to be almost as important as the brief itself….The result was more than we had hoped for.” 

– Barbara Manoski, Quality Counts Program Director, Spartanburg County First Steps 

Related Resources

Partner With Us

Are you a government agency, foundation, or nonprofit looking for smart public policies and advisement in early childhood development? Learn more about how partnering with ICS can help young children and families thrive.