VECF Strategy Map

Engaging with the components of early childhood systems building is essential to creating better systems, family and child outcomes.

What is the VECF strategy map?

The strategy map is a guide for the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and its public and private partner organizations in planning, implementing and tracking progress on efforts to build equitable and durable early childhood (EC) systems in Virginia.

What does the strategy map have to do with Ready, Set, Soar?

Ready, Set, Soar is a way of envisioning the journey of systems building. VECF supports diverse community partnerships engaged in one or many of the components of local early childhood systems. The activities local system builders must engage in to build and sustain an effective local EC system are represented by the six local early childhood system components. These components work together to support coherent EC systems for the well-being of children and their families.

How can stakeholders use the strategy map?

The strategy map can be used by stakeholders to communicate systems-building goals and activities with various audiences, including local systems-building partners, policymakers and funders.

Community systems builders can also use the VECF strategy map to regularly examine activities related to each of the six system components and track community-level indicators of system functioning. This information should be central to the development of strategic plans and the assessment of progress toward community and equity goals.

I’m new to early childhood systems building. What activities should I be working on with my community partnership?

There is a lot you can do to support local early childhood systems! We’ve outlined example activities in each of the six system components here:

Local Early Childhood System Components


Communication and engagement

Promote consistent messaging on the importance of birth-through-age-5 (B-5) experiences

Increase family knowledge of child development and positive parenting

Increase family awareness of available resources and services through communications

Engage leaders with the ability to influence policies and practices


Data systems

Improve data collection and analysis capacity (amount, quality, types of data, linking of data, disaggregation of data) by working with state and VECF

Use data together with partners to assess progress on goals, gaps, service utilization and its barriers

Communicate findings (needs and progress) with stakeholders


Cross-sector collaboration

Establish a comprehensive, cross-sector,
non-partisan collaborative leadership structure of B-5 EC system stakeholders to engage in coordinated planning, policy change and budgeting

Build and maintain positive relationships, clear communication and commitment among stakeholders

Increase public-private collaboration and coordination of specific strategies and/or initiatives

Facilitate cross-agency referrals and coordinated enrollment


System design

Conduct community needs assessments

Produce and regularly update a plan to coordinate effective early learning, health and family support services for young children in the community

Engage the voice and input of families and community providers in program development and program oversight and system design

Identify and track shared targets, outcomes and accountability across agencies



Integrate funding across funding streams to maximize services at the community and site level

Leverage public and private funding to create sustainable funding models

Inventory and map existing funding resources for
early care and education (ECE), child and maternal health, and family support to align, target and maximize their use

Engage individuals with budgetary decision-making authority


Quality standards and evidence-based practices

Promote early identification, coordinated referral and service enrollment through child and family screenings and assessments

Develop and align systems that promote use of high-quality practices and standards for ECE, home visiting, and maternal and child health services

Identify, launch and support evidence-based practices to increase program effectiveness and fill service gaps

Who should I contact to find out more about the strategy map?

Visit the Contact Us page to request more information. You can also email us at