Early childhood policy planning and implementation: Community and provincial participation.

Literature regarding the field of early childhood policy planning and implementation has focused mainly on activities at global, regional, and national levels. However, during the last decade, important roles have emerged in policy planning for community−municipal and provincial decision makers, specialists, parents, and children. To achieve strong policy ownership at provincial and community levels, their representatives must participate actively in assessing the policy environment; child and family needs; human, organizational, and financial resources; and gaps and quality improvement in local services. Communities and provinces can help ensure early childhood services will address the needs of children in difficult situations and those with developmental delays, disabilities, and behavioral and mental health needs, leading ultimately to greater program equity. Studies have shown that when participatory policy-planning processes include community and provincial stakeholders alongside national decision makers, policy instruments have a greater likelihood of being implemented effectively. Furthermore, participatory processes often lead to the expansion and improvement of early childhood programs and the development of new initiatives to meet evolving needs. The establishment of multisectoral early childhood committees at the community level helps support the successful implementation of early childhood policies. Recommendations are offered regarding further research and activities for the improvement of community and provincial participation in early childhood policy planning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)