The following statement regarding the State of the Union address should be attributed to Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE:
WASHINGTON — “Families weave the essential fabric of our society. Today’s parents are the thread that pulls together our economy while also working each and every day to nurture the next generation of workers and leaders – today’s babies. Tonight, the President reported that ‘our families are flourishing’ and noted issues like paid family leave and child care. But the Administration’s solutions simply do not go far enough for families to truly thrive. Babies can’t wait for baby steps, especially measures that only benefit some of this country’s infants and toddlers. All families—regardless of their zip code, income level, or job description—deserve swift and comprehensive solutions from their elected officials.
“Our nation’s families deserve the absolute best support that we can provide, including access to comprehensive paid family and medical leave and quality, affordable child care. The vast majority of parents must make impossible choices between their economic security and taking the time they need to bond with and care for their babies. On top of that, only 4 percent of infants and toddlers living in low- or moderate-income families currently receive child care subsidies.
“The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would cover the whole range of babies’ and families’ needs for paid time off, including the opportunity to bond after birth or adoption and care for a family member during a serious illness. Additionally, the Child Care for Working Families Act puts forth a comprehensive vision to meaningfully address the lack of quality, affordable child care for infants and toddlers. These bills stand in contrast to other proposals in Congress that only focus on parental leave, place the burden back on families to repay benefits or postpone retirement, or do not protect workers that take leave. Such proposals, like the Advancing Support for Working Families Act, are half-measures that will not truly address the challenges facing the majority of today’s families and will disproportionately impact those with the lowest incomes.
“ZERO TO THREE calls on the Administration and Congress to reject limits on our children’s future and work towards solutions for all babies and families, particularly the FAMILY Act and Child Care for Working Families Act. These bipartisan bills, unlike other proposals, are comprehensive solutions that would level the playing field by providing all working families the support they need to help babies thrive. In order to optimize the state of our union, we need to ensure each and every baby has the chance to reach their full potential.”
About ZERO TO THREE
ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/ZEROTOTHREE or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.