Child Development

mural of a young black girl

The consequences of childhood poverty can negatively affect  individuals for a lifetime; much of our work revolves around efforts to address the causes and consequences of child poverty and improve outcomes for children.

Recent and Current Projects

Early Learning and Child Care

Invest in Children

For over a decade, The Poverty Center has partnered with Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children initiative (IIC) to improve child and family outcomes in the county. Invest in Children is a community-wide, public/private partnership administered by the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood to help increase the development, funding, visibility and impact of early childhood services in Cuyahoga County. Each of Invest in Children’s goals is pursued through a number of service strategies for children, from prenatal to the start of kindergarten. These strategies focus on preparing children to enter school ready to learn. 


Pre4Cle is part of Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools (the Cleveland Plan), a strategic initiative by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). It's mission is to ensure that all 3- and 4-year-old children in the City of Cleveland have access to high-quality preschool. The Poverty Center has been working with Pre4Cle for nearly 10 years, monitoring the high-quality preschool supply throughout the City.

Home Visiting


Since 2014, The Poverty Center has partnered with the City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Health to evaluate MomsFirst, a case management and home visiting program aimed at reducing racial disparities in infant mortality in Cleveland. The program partners with neighborhood organizations to conduct home visits to high risk women to make sure they get the health and social service delivery they need, as well as education on healthy pregnancy and baby care. 

Child Welfare

Infant-Toddler Court Program (ITCP)

The purpose of the Infant-Toddler Court Program (ITCP) is to connect  with families at risk of child welfare separation in order to  provide intervention to support reunification or permanency in the event reunification is not possible. The project focuses on three  ITC sites that were established in Cuyahoga, Lucas and Scioto county  in 2020, as the  Ohio ITC team work on expanding and improving services, such as  access to prevention, early intervention and family support,  and on developing the use of evidence- and data-driven strategies to reduce disparities in early developmental health associated with poverty, race/ethnicity and  to improve outcomes. Working with the Educational Service Center (ESC) of Northeast Ohio, the Poverty Center is conducting the program evaluation for the state of Ohio to assess if key outcomes are met. This project is funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to ESC.

Reports and Briefs