Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Administrative + Governance Models


In 2015, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education was created as an executive department of state government, replacing the Department of Children’s Affairs, to oversee programs that support young children in the state. This cabinet-level agency is led by a secretary who reports to the governor.  Within the department, four offices guide the state’s early childhood priorities: the Office of School Readiness, the Office of Early Learning and Family Support, the Head Start Collaboration Office, and the Office of Child Development and Professional Support. The Alabama Children’s Policy Council, which coordinates services across the state through a local entity in each county, was created by executive order in 2015, the same year the Department was renamed. 


Education Commission of the States (2018). Education Governance Dashboard State Profile Alabama. 

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.


Learn more about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Alabama

Context matters. Visit the Alabama profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Alabama Profile Here:
  • The state population is 5,074,296
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 65%
  • The rural percentage is 42.3%