Organization urges Congress to act swiftly to protect babies and toddlers
WASHINGTON — Eight months after the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in the United States, with 7 million confirmed cases, and more than 200,000 Americans dead, ZERO TO THREE today applauded the House of Representative for releasing an updated version of the HEROES Act that will provide the support that American families need. ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading early childhood development nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, hailed the bill as taking critical steps to support the basic needs of babies, toddlers, and their families, as well as a positive step in preventing a historic collapse of the American child care system.
ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Myra Jones-Taylor stated:
“For months now, families have been forced to rely on temporary support while waiting for real, substantial help while struggling to meet their and their children’s basic needs. Now, we are encouraged that the House of Representatives is prioritizing the youngest among us in the latest version of the HEROES Act. This bill will provide millions of families with babies and toddlers with a crucial lifeline during this crisis, by sustaining the crumbling child care market, bolstering critical early learning programs, boosting economic security, sustaining strong families, supporting social and emotional health, and helping families meet their basic day-to-day needs. This bill not only will address the needs of babies, but also demonstrates an understanding of the breadth of how this pandemic is affecting families. Now, we strongly urge the full House and Senate to put politics aside and agree to take up and pass this bill right away. American families can’t wait much longer.”
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, was originally passed in the House of Representatives in May. This latest update to the legislation makes several key advances that ZERO TO THREE and other leading advocates have consistently stated are needed to support families and the child care system in America. Most notably, the bill now appropriates $57 billion for child care, up from just $7 billion in the original legislation, and an additional $1.7 billion for Head Start – a major improvement that reflects the level of needed support identified and promoted by the early childhood community, advocates, and parents across the country.
Additionally, the updated HEROES Act will:
- Restore the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to supplement state unemployment insurance programs through January 2021;
- Expand the 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave for all workers under the Family and Medical Leave Act, regardless of the size of the employer;
- Boost funding for family supports and child welfare, including $225 million for community-based family outreach and child abuse prevention, $500 million for supporting maternal and child health, and $100 million for home visiting;
- Provide $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
- Provide $50 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance;
- Temporarily increase the minimum and maximum SNAP benefit levels; and
- Provide for a uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
To read Dr. Jones-Taylor’s April op-ed discussing the need for Congressional support for child care, a piece which proved prescient and has only become more urgent, click here.
To learn more about the updated HEROES Act and what it means for families with babies and toddlers, click here.
To learn more about the five critical areas of need for babies and toddlers identified by ZERO TO THREE, click here.
Throughout the pandemic, parent advocates have joined with ZERO TO THREE to urge Congress to #ThinkBabiesAndAct on behalf of babies and toddlers. To hear their stories and their experiences, click here.
To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting child care providers, click here
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.