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Leadership for Early Childhood
and Family Policy 
at the University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is proud to be designated as a national Early Childhood Policy Center through the Early Childhood Policy in Institutes of Higher Education (ECPIHE). This interdisciplinary initiative brings together faculty and scholars from across UK to advance research, policy, and leadership efforts that improve systems and outcomes for young children and families. We offer innovative coursework, and engagement opportunities that equip emerging leaders to drive policy change and address equity issues impacting Kentucky's youngest citizens. We work closely with policymakers, practitioners, families, and communities to help translate research into action for Kentucky's children. Join us in building and shaping the future of early childhood policy and leadership!


About Us

The Early Childhood Policy Leadership Initiative at the University of Kentucky is one of six centers supported through the Early Childhood Policy in Institutes of Higher Education (ECPIHE), an initiative housed at Columbia University with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation and Buffett Early Childhood Fund.


We are dedicated to building leadership capacity and advancing research to inform and improve early childhood policy in Kentucky and beyond. We aim to cultivate a diverse network of emerging leaders equipped to implement equitable policies, systems, and programs that support the well-being of all young children and families.


We facilitate interdisciplinary coursework, research collaborations, and engagement opportunities among students, faculty, policymakers, community members, families, and other stakeholders. We leverage expertise from across UK, including the College of Education, College of Public Health, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, and more.


Our vision is that all children have the opportunity to develop their full potential through access to high-quality early learning environments, resources, and supports that set them on a path for lifelong success. Our efforts contribute to realizing this vision in Kentucky and nationwide.

Our Graduate Certificate

Offered through the Department of Educational Leadership Studies, this innovative online graduate certificate equips students with the knowledge and skills to drive policy change and improve systems for young children and families.

About the Certificate

  • 12 credit hours

  • Fully online format

  • Stacks onto existing graduate programs or as standalone credential

  • Develops analytical, leadership, advocacy, and research skills


  • Early Childhood Policy History and Systems

  • Policy Analysis Frameworks

  • Research and Analysis Methods

  • Policy Development and Advocacy

Prepares You For

  • Leadership roles in early childhood policy and advocacy organizations

  • Analyst and advisor positions in state/federal government

  • Grant writing, evaluation, and research careers

  • Doctoral programs in early childhood, public policy, etc.


Ready to advance your knowledge and skills to drive impactful policy change for young children? Our online Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood and Family Policy equips you with the capabilities to lead systems improvement through policy analysis, research, advocacy and leadership development.

Attend our quick five-minute webinar and apply today!

Similing Team


We encourage engagement with the Early Childhood Policy Network, a national initiative cultivating the emerging field of early childhood policy. The Network provides valuable resources and opportunities to connect with other faculty, researchers, policymakers, and professionals dedicated to improving systems and outcomes for young children through policy change.

Visitors can explore the Network's website to:

  • Access a growing collection of policy briefs, research reports, academic papers, and other materials to inform policy efforts and academic study of early childhood policy.

  • Learn about upcoming events, webinars, and professional development focused on the latest in early childhood policy.

  • Join Policy Connect, an online community of practice for in-depth discussion and collaboration among those advancing the field.

  • Browse job and academic opportunities related to early childhood policy.

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