This policy framework outlines the universal needs of infants, toddlers, and families. It also highlights examples of policies that meet those needs.
Imagine a world where the policies that affect babies, toddlers, and families successfully ensured that those very families could thrive: Where parents and their infants and toddlers have access to preventive health care and insurance to rely on if they become ill. Where parents make a living wage and can access social services and supports when necessary. Where infants and toddlers have access to high-quality child care and early education programs that support their development and help their parents go to work. Where parents have paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or when they or their children are ill. Where public policies address the comprehensive and interrelated needs of all infants, toddlers, and families.
This world is currently out of reach, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right policies and sufficient funding to implement those policies, families with infants and toddlers could thrive.
This framework outlines the universal needs of infants, toddlers, and families. It also highlights examples of policies that meet those needs. Any vision for infants and toddlers must include a focus on racial equity given the diverse and changing composition of this population. Far too many poor and low-income children and adults are marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, immigration status, or nationality. People of color are disproportionately affected when public programs are inadequately or inequitably funded. For purposes of this framework, policy is not restricted to laws and regulations but includes a broader set of considerations such as implementation, guidance, and funding. Since all of these components are so critical and interconnected, we will be looking across the range of possibilities in this framework and project. We envision these policies to be cross-cutting with the policies overlapping and working together to meet the needs of families.