Houston Infant Toddler Coalition



We are a collective effort made up of public and private community partners and families of young children that seeks to develop and implement strategies for systems-wide change that will better support the healthy development of infants and toddlers in Houston. HITC membership is comprised of cross-sector leaders in health, mental health, childcare and education, social services, early intervention, government, research, and child welfare.

Our vision: Houston is a city where all infants and toddlers are thriving.

Our mission is to collectively develop and implement strategies for strengthening our system of programs and services to increase positive early experiences for infants and toddlers and to better meet the needs of the families with young children in Houston.

Defining a system: A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. [1] A system’s overall purpose or goal is achieved through the actions and interactions of its components – applied to health, education, or human service systems, this means that a connected web of services and programs will result in better outcomes for individuals than if those services and programs are not connected.[2]

We believe that a high functioning system of services for infants, toddlers and their families will address the following:

  • A focus on “systems change” will lead to structural and institutional changes that are necessary to create the constellation of seamless services with no wrong door entry approach and transitions that are sensitive and transparent to children and families. 
  • The reality that bias and institutional racism exist in our community leads to life-long disparities among children and families in our community. We will work to identify and address policies and regulations that perpetuate systemic racism. 
  • Rapid developmental change and making transitions across sectors/services/programs happen more often in the first three years of life than at any other time throughout childhood. Developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed transitions are critical and offer substantial opportunity to holistically support the development of young children.
  • The first three years are unique not only in the rapidity and complexity of the development and learning that occurs, but as importantly, in the complex and nuanced knowledge and skills it takes to support that development and learning. All learning happens in the context of trusting relationships between young children and their primary caregivers. Attention must be focused on these primary caregivers, relationships, and the critical interactions that take place within these relationships.
  • Developmentally appropriate services and supports must be available for all young children including those with special needs or at-risk of disability. Additionally, because of the opportunity that early intervention offers, substantial effort must be made to identify those with delays or disabilities as early as possible.
  • The early childhood service system must reflect and respect the strengths, needs, values, languages, cultures and communities of young children and families in Houston. The experiences of parents and caregivers are critically important in discussions for creating an early childhood system that is responsive to very young children and their families.

We welcome parents/caregivers and service providers across the early childhood system – health and mental health, early care and education, child welfare, Early Childhood Intervention, and others! – to join the Houston Infant Toddler Coalition. Please contact Sarina Naik, Community Systems Coordinator, at SNaik@first3yearstx.org or call/text 214-404-9448

Coalition Structure

[1] Pegasus Communications. What is systems thinking? The Systems Thinker. Retrieved on June 28, 2007 from http://www.thesystemsthinker.com/systemsthinkinglearn.html.

[2] Definition adapted from the Build Initiative’s Paper: “A Framework for Evaluating Systems Initiatives” 2007