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ICS provides technical assistance for state and local governments to explore their economic development goals with a family focus to make smart, strategic decisions that can make communities more vibrant.

We advise governments as to ways they can better structure, consider, and plan tax and fiscal policy, promote economic development and improve outcomes for children and families.

What opportunities or barriers exist for parents in the workforce? How do supporting early learning experiences develop a stronger workforce?

Asking big questions? We can help you find the answers. 

Use economic development tools to build local, coordinated systems

The Early Care and Education continuum encompasses care for children prenatal to age eight, including home visiting programs, child care, early intervention services, and preschool. A wealth of interventions, programs, and practices have demonstrated robust, significant savings and returns on investment for communities. By thoughtfully aligning quality early childhood systems-building with a local economic development strategy, communities can access funding and resources, such as training and capital improvement grants; increase their ECE workforce to better meet the growing need and demand; and provide their youngest residents with high-quality early experiences.

High-quality child care businesses provide a vital service in our world, allowing parents to work productively while their child is in a nurturing and safe early learning environment. These businesses have a significant economic impact in their communities but often aren’t viewed for what they are: small businesses providing a key service that enables work now and in the future.

Our work thus far: ICS has published research on the economic impact of the early child and education sector in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Los Angeles, as well as explored potential funding mechanisms in the Palmetto State.

Promote tax policies that improve family and community economics as well as early childhood outcomes 

While measures like income, sales, and property taxes can generate substantial new revenue, they also have an impact on individual family economic circumstances and can negatively impact the very families they seek to help. This initiative will provide policymakers and advocates locally appropriate and research-based information that can guide them in establishing robust, stable, and equitable funding mechanisms that both maintain/generate/protect revenue and improve child and family well-being.

Our work thus far: ICS has explored revenue adequacy for early childhood in North Carolina and published research on the positive impact of the state-level Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) and the particular importance of “refundability.” We have championed the EITC, the nation’s most effective anti-poverty tool, as a founding member of South Carolina’s Early Childhood Common Agenda, which helped lead to its passage in 2017.

Catalyze innovative funding mechanisms

Federal, state, and philanthropic funding streams can be complex, all with different requirements. Many providers, stakeholders, and change agents lack the time and comprehensive guidance to maximize funding streams. Increasingly, local communities are taking the lead in creating revenue streams to support local need for quality early childhood programming. Cities and counties are developing innovative public funding mechanisms, employing such levers as property and occupancy taxes, county and city budgets, school board collaborations, and children’s funds and endowments. Rather than focus on one funding stream, ICS utilizes a holistic approach, building successful strategies tailored to each jurisdiction’s economic goals, tax base, need, and priorities.

Learn more about our experience using Pay for Success financing to improve outcomes for children in communities across the country, including a project currently in transaction structuring in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


Ready to learn more? Contact to Megan Carolan to discuss contract opportunities with ICS to for your community or to help support the ongoing work of this initiative. 

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