The Early Learning Policy Group helps clients strengthen the quality of child care and other early learning settings to promote setting safety and healthy child development.   Nearly 11 million children with working mothers are in some type of child care setting every day.  The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the federal law that allocates funds to states to assist families in affording child care and sets the framework for state child care laws, requires very little of state policy.  As a result, State child care policy varies greatly with most states falling short of protecting children in child care and promoting healthy development.  The Early Learning Group offers strategic, practical, and results-driven policy and communication strategies.  We analyze policies, drive issue campaigns, craft persuasive messages tied to targeted audiences, create and expand parent advocacy networks, build advocacy coalitions and translate information for a variety of policy and practice audiences at both the federal and state level of governance.

We complement and supplement our clients’ internal staff expertise and capabilities.  Our mission is simple – to use our experience as former Congressional staff and leading non-profit policy, advocacy and research specialists to assist our clients in achieving policies that promote quality child care and early learning settings for all children.

Grace Reef is the President and founder of the Early Learning Policy Group, a Washington D.C. based government relations group.  A veteran political and policy strategist, Grace has more than 20 years of experience working on policy related to families with children.  With 16 years of experience working in the United States Senate, Grace has led all aspects of bill progression.  As a senior policy advisor for Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and as Minority Staff Director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Families and Children chaired by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Grace handled a broad legislative portfolio ranging from human resources, family and children’s policy, to economic development.  She analyzed, drafted, and negotiated legislation, prepared materials for hearings, markups, floor action, and conference committee for key bills including the Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorization, Head Start reauthorization, the Family and Medical Leave Act, welfare reform, and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

Most recently, Grace was the Chief of Policy & Evaluation for seven years at the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), currently doing business as Child Care Aware® of America.  As the point person for Child Care Aware® of America’s policy and research, Grace oversaw the development of seven national reports on state child care licensing, the cost of child care in the states, as well as drafted numerous white papers and fact sheets. She served as a key resource to Congressional staff, managed the organization’s national policy symposium (including “Day on the Hill”), led onsite state advocacy trainings, fueled state grassroots advocacy capacity and strategy, provided rapid response and policy technical assistance at the state and federal level, developed a broad social networking strategy, and drafted a weekly policy blog.



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