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Overwhelming Bipartisan Demand for Congressional Action on Programs Supporting Young Children and their Families

Close to 90% of parents want Congress to support families; 60% say it should be a top priority

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Siobhan Mueller
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Washington, DC – May 10, 2023 – An overwhelming bipartisan majority of parents with young children want Congress to make programs supporting children and families a top priority, new polling data revealed. The research, which was conducted by Morning Consult and ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, confirmed that supporting the nation’s babies in the 2024 federal budget must be a top priority for Congress, with wide margins of voters across the political spectrum in agreement.  

The poll shows that a full 87% of parents with infants and toddlers say that addressing the needs of children and families should be either a top or important priority this budget cycle—with six in ten (60%) saying it should be one of Congress’s top priorities. Notably, there is bipartisan agreement among both parents who voted Democrat in 2022 (94%) and those who voted Republican in 2022 (90%) that Congress should prioritize the needs of children and families in the upcoming federal budget.

“When it comes to programs supporting children and families, we’re seeing strong support across the partisan divide,” said Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer of ZERO TO THREE. “At a time when some in Congress want to make deep cuts, Democratic and Republican voters are in broad agreement that Congress must address the debt ceiling without trading away critical supports that their constituents look to.”


According to survey data:

  • 84% of those surveyed are concerned about the prospect of Congress cutting child care, including 60% who are very concerned
  • 82% percent of parents are concerned about cuts to special education programs, 83% are concerned about cuts to food assistance and nutrition.
  • 82% are concerned about cuts to affordable housing programs.
  • 87% are concerned about cuts to healthcare.
  • 84% are concerned about mental health—including strong majorities who say they’re very concerned about cuts to those programs.


“Voters get it – these aren’t abstract government programs, they’re lifelines for millions of families with young children,” said Calderón. “And they will hold Congress accountable for protecting those lifelines.”

Parents also revealed deep worry about the impacts of leaders refusing to protect investments in children and families. More than two in three (68%) of respondents said they anticipated challenges finding affordable high-quality child care without congressional action, and 64% expected to struggle to work because of lack of child care options. Sixty-five percent also feared that they’d be forced to buy cheaper, less healthy food for their families. Six in ten respondents (60%) predicted that inaction would lead to late or missing mortgage payments, rent, or utility bills.

“Parents of young kids are doing their jobs,” said Calderón. “Now it’s up to members of Congress to do theirs.”


Polling methodology:

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of ZERO TO THREE between April 27-May 1, 2023 among a sample of 811 parents of children 0-3. The interviews were conducted online and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of parents of children 0-3 based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and gender by age. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points

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