Washington, D.C.– Linda Smith, former deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development at the Department of Health and Human Services, has joined the Bipartisan Policy Center as director of early childhood policy, the Washington-based think tank announced today.
Smith will design and lead a variety of activities at BPC designed to not only impact federal early learning policy but to help develop an architecture for improving the quality of federal, state, and local early learning programs and to explore how to create the long-term, diverse, and sustained public-private investments needed to better support families with young children.
Smith brings a wealth of experience in early childhood policy and practice, having worked to establish child care programs at the local level and within Native American communities, to strengthen early childhood programs offered by the Department of Defense, and as a national advocate. Before joining HHS, Smith was executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, which represents more than 800 “birth-to-five” organizations nationwide. Smith also spent more than a decade in the Defense Department’s Office of Family Policy, first as deputy director and then as director.
“Making sound investments in young children is a goal that should enjoy broad support. However, leaders at the federal, state and local level are divided over questions about the role of government, program design and cost. Linda’s policy expertise, real-world experience and commitment to evidence-based evaluation will be invaluable in building broad based support for effective public policy,” said BPC President Jason Grumet.
“It’s a real joy for me to join the team at BPC,” said Smith. “I am excited about building on BPC’s efforts to jumpstart a national conversation that focuses on local and state-based leadership and responsibility, and that builds on what works—supporting parents and families, investing in proven programs, and generating collaboration and consensus at all levels of government. The success of America’s children has not been, nor should it be, a partisan issue.”
BPC began exploring early childhood issues several years ago and conducted a series of regional roundtable discussions and interviews to gather input on the topic. In January 2017, BPC launched the Early Childhood Initiative, led by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former California Rep. George Miller. This fall, Santorum and Miller will be releasing policy recommendations aimed at better meeting the needs of today’s children and families.
Earlier this year, BPC published its findings and insights from the roundtables and interviews.