The New Jersey Council for Young Children was established by Executive Order on January 8, 2010 to serve as the State Advisory Council for Early Education and Care as authorized under the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007.  The New Jersey Department of Education received a three-year grant award from the Administration for Children and Families approving the application for the ARRA state council grant.  The Council is a “separate entity located in, but not of,” the New Jersey Department of Education.

As required in federal law, the Council has a diverse membership of 25 leaders representing the state’s child care, education, disability, health and mental health sectors as well as the state’s academic, research and philanthropic sectors.  Members are appointed for three-year terms (except for some first appointments), and vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment.  The Council is chaired by Dr. Ellen Wolock, Director of the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Preschool Education. 

The Council has identified seven goals, each with a specific set of objectives.  The Council uses committees in coordination with a smaller steering committee, made up of committee chairs, to manage the tasks of the Council. The Council has adopted by-laws and meets quarterly throughout the year. 

The Council is charged with assuring collaboration and coordination among the various early childhood programs in the state for children from birth to age eight.  The Council’s vision is to align and improve New Jersey’s numerous and complex initiatives into one streamlined system of early education and care that reaches all infants and young children in need of services.