Reimagining early childhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn

About United For Brownsville.


Our Goal: Improve language and social-emotional developmental outcomes for the 3,500 children aged 0-3 living in Brownsville, Brooklyn.


Our Vision

Imagine a Brownsville in which families are positioned to successfully navigate the early childhood landscape ...

A grandmother caring for her toddler confidently knows where to turn to for subsidized child care, tips on encouraging reading, or the right speech pathologist.

Service providers across all sectors are better-connected, sharing information and strategies, and optimizing their resources and networks to coordinate care …

A home-based childcare provider knows the pediatrician working with her high-needs student by name, has taken professional development alongside a nurse home visitor, and has brainstormed improved practices with a case manager.

Children are seamlessly cared for, whether at home or in someone else’s hands.

The local places frequented by families with young children, from supermarkets to laundromats, childcare sites to NYCHA community rooms, are designed to encourage development and bring families together for fun and joyful experiences.

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Our Core Values

UB is grounded in the following core values:

  • Prioritize working with the neediest families, not simply those easiest to serve.
  • Use a data-driven approach to decision making and strategy development.
  • Utilize a participatory planning process that empowers local parents/caregivers, service providers and other community stakeholders as decision makers that shape the initiative’s strategies and interventions.
  • Include local fathers as key stakeholders and informants.
  • A commitment to racial, gender, class and generational equity.
    • Explore how different groups within the Brownsville community experience the same issues differently, relying on both quantitative and qualitative data. 
    • Make deliberate and sustained efforts to use language in our communication with local stakeholders that is accessible and designed to disrupt rather than reinforce negative stereotypes and persistent inequities.

    • Build credibility with the Brownsville community by pursuing hiring practices that ensure UB staff reflect the demographic characteristics of Brownsville and rely on local human talent for UB activities when possible.

  • Mutual accountability. Local parents, collaborating agencies, and other stakeholders will be asked to review and adjust these core values periodically to capture additional guiding principles and to hold each other accountable for practicing the collective values we establish.


Our Method

We will achieve our goal by using collective impact and participatory planning approaches to transform and reinvigorate relationships between and among local service providers and families.

Rather than add a new program or social service to the landscape, we will organize service providers and families to help them leverage their strengths and collectively address challenges that frustrate their efforts today.

Our Structure

UB is a collaboration between SCO Family of Services and Community Solutions, and is an initiative of the Robin Hood Fund for Early Learning (FUEL). UB is a backbone organization that provides an infrastructure, a budget, logistical assistance, and facilitation to support the advisory bodies at the core of these efforts. 

The UB backbone serves two advisory bodies: one for families and caregivers and another for service providers, which includes any human services provider that interacts with an infant or toddler, from childcare staff to early interventionists and pediatricians. These advisory bodies identify priorities and collaboratively devise activities to change relationships and improve outcomes for 0-3-year-olds.

We also benefit from the guidance of a Leadership Council composed of executives from 16 New York City agencies, nonprofits, and businesses that are at the forefront of developing early childhood development policy and infrastructure in New York City.


Why this age group and these goals?

A wealth of research confirms that language and social-emotional developmental domains have far-reaching implications for outcomes later in a child’s life, from K-12 performance to career and life trajectories.

Language and social-emotional development snowball: new developments build atop earlier developments, and the pace of growth increases with each new development. There are two implications for this that concern United for Brownsville:

  1. Children who experience delays have a harder time catching up as time goes on.

  2. Receiving well-coordinated services and interventions early-on is likely to have significant impact on improving developmental outcomes for the community.


Why focus on changing relationships in Brownsville?

We believe that both the obstacles and the pathways to success in early childhood development can be found in the Brownsville community already.

The centrality of relationships in early childhood development underscores the importance of a dedicated focus on improving not only parent-child relationships but also positive working relationships between and among caregivers and service providers.

Moreover, we have heard from families and service providers alike that the services they need already exist here. It is the parents’ empowerment to navigate those services and the providers’ ability to coordinate care among themselves and with parents that represent the greatest obstacles.


How can I get involved?

We have convened a Leadership Council composed of 16 executives from New York City agencies, nonprofits, and businesses who are concerned with early childhood development.

We have also formed and convened the Family Advisory Board (FAB) and the Provider Action Team (PAT), though we are open to considering additional members.

Both bodies have committed to: meeting regularly (roughly once per month); identifying challenges to educating and accessing/providing services for 0-3-year-olds; and thinking creatively and sharing ideas for activities that will help address those challenges. The PAT has been asked to be open to sharing data and changing their own organization’s procedures, policies, and activities in response to priorities identified by the FAB and the PAT.

If you are interested in being a member of the FAB or the PAT, or if you know a caregiver or service provider in Brownsville who might be a good fit, do not hesitate to contact us using button below.