Babies and the Budget
Last Monday, President Obama released his proposal for the FY2013 budget, marking the beginning of the federal budget process. There are numerous opportunities throughout the federal budget process for you to influence the choices made about funding for early childhood programs and services. To help you learn about the process and get involved, the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center has developed several federal budget advocacy tools, including a graphic representation of the budget process, videos, and a timeline. Armed with these tools, you will be better prepared to be a Big Voice for Little KidsTM.
Graphic: The Federal Budget Process At-A-Glance - This tool highlights key moments of the federal budget process using graphical images and brief descriptions.
Video: Babies and the Budget - This video (the second video on the page) provides an overview of the federal budget process and its impact on programs and services for infants, toddlers, and families. Hosted by Stephanie Byrd, an early childhood professional and member of the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network, this video is the first in a series that explain why it's important for early childhood professionals to take action during the federal budget process. Although this video was created during last year's budget discussions, the general information about the federal budget process is still useful and relevant for the current fiscal year.
Babies and the Budget: Opportunities for Action - The federal budget process typically follows a standard schedule. This resource provides a general timeline of the process, emphasizing when and how early childhood professionals can influence the public policy process.
Federal Policy Baby Blog - Important policy decisions that impact the lives of very young children, families, and early childhood professionals are made almost daily. Follow this blog for regular updates about what's happening on Capitol Hill as it relates to the infant/toddler field.
Download March's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
The federal budget process can be lengthy and difficult to follow, but the decisions made about federal funding can significantly impact the infants and toddlers you serve. This month's advocacy challenge is for you to host a brown bag lunch at your workplace about the federal budget process and its impact on babies. Download the March Advocacy Developmental Milestone calendar now!
Federal Policy Update
President Obama's proposed 2013 budget holds promise as well as some challenges for programs that benefit young children. The promise comes in the form of resources for improving the quality of early care and learning programs, as well as a child welfare reform initiative that would create financial incentives for improving outcomes for children. The challenges posed by the budget reflect the current era of austerity, making it difficult to find room for investments in a time of scarce resources. On the other side of the ledger are proposed deep cuts in energy assistance and community services, as well as many other programs for children and families that would receive no increases, continuing the flat funding of recent years. The budget reflects the agreement arrived at in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which set limits for total discretionary spending over 10 years and ultimately resulted in a $1 trillion spending reduction over that period. For more details on the President's budget, read our complete analysis of What's in the Budget for Babies? The President's 2013 Budget Proposal.
State Policy Update
Maine Business Leaders Create Early Learning Investment Group
Business leaders in Maine are on a mission to improve the quality of early care and education and increase access for all Maine families. The newly formed Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG) has pledged to help raise millions of dollars in private funds to achieve this aim. The group views investment in early childhood through an economic lens. The long-term goals are to improve the quality of Maine's workforce and decrease the costs of doing business in the state - by lessening future health care, welfare, and other social costs. As part of its fundraising campaign, MELIG will focus on raising public awareness of the connection between investment in early childhood and economic prosperity. Though a final plan has not yet been developed, the money raised will likely be directed toward scholarships for young children of low-income families and professional development for early childhood staff. MELIG is firmly committed to supporting programs and initiatives that have a measureable return on investment and can be replicated across the state.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
Study Shows Long-Term Benefits of High Quality Child Care
The FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has released data from a long-running study that supports the need for high quality child care beginning at infancy. The Abecedarian study provides scientific evidence that early childhood education significantly improves the scholastic success and educational attainments of poor children even into early adulthood. The study followed children from the 1970s to today and found that subjects who attended high quality child care were more likely to enroll in and finish college and hold consistent employment than test subjects who had not. The findings were published in the journal Developmental Psychology. Read more about the study here.
Resource on Access to Screenings
CLASP released a new resource, "Promote Access to Early, Regular and Comprehensive Screenings," which provides research documenting the importance of screening, as well as policy recommendations states can use to improve their screening rates. It also provides a listing of online resources for state policymakers.
Brief on Child Homelessness
The rate of homelessness amongst families has increased in recent years. Homelessness has been shown to negatively impact a child's physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development and to create barriers to access the very early learning programs that could help diminish its effects. "When the Bough Breaks: The Effects of Homelessness on Young Children," a new brief from Child Trends, presents research about the effects of homelessness on the development of young children and offers policy recommendations to help improve their outcome.