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What’s in the FY2024 Budget for Babies?

Every year, the President and Congress develop budget proposals to fund the federal government for the upcoming fiscal year. ZERO TO THREE’s budget analysis examines current and proposed funding levels across agencies for the programs and services that most impact infants and toddlers and their families.
Photo by Jason Miczek

The President kicks off the budget process by sending a proposed budget to Congress. On March 9, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal, which would build on bipartisan progress made in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus by prioritizing important increases for many programs that have the greatest benefit on the lives of infants and toddlers and their families. ZERO TO THREE applauded the President’s proposed budget for including essential and much-needed funding to support policies and programs that build a strong foundation for young children and their families.

Babies’ brains grow faster in the first three years than at any other point in life, setting the stage for future development and health outcomes. As the State of Babies Yearbook 2022 makes clear, many babies lack the ingredients that will support positive development and ensure they can thrive. Investments that support their good health, strong families, and access to positive early learning experiences help support that early development, and the positive impacts of those investments persist throughout the course of babies’ lives and into adulthood. The federal budget affects all aspects of young children’s development, from early care and learning to nutrition to clean air and water.

While the President’s proposed budget builds on what we know infants and toddlers and their families need during these critical early years, the path forward in Congress remains uncertain. The budget was released in the midst of Congressional threats to roll back the bipartisan progress made in FY23 and extract deep cuts to domestic programs, including many of those highlighted below that are directly linked to the healthy development of infants and toddlers and the well-being of their families. As our federal policy agenda, Fight for Our Families, makes clear, families want Congress to prioritize the needs of infants and toddlers and their families, and invest in programs that support their healthy development – using the President’s budget proposal as a starting point.

Invest[ing] in our children and community early makes for a better community and life for our next generation. -Isabel, DE

Key Policy Proposals:

  • Affordable Child Care for America: A new $400 billion, 10-year investment to expand access to high-quality child care for nearly all families with young children, while supporting needed investments in early educators, as well as $200 billion over 10 years to expand access to free preschool.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave: $325 billion over 10 years for a comprehensive, permanent paid family and medical leave program providing up to 12 weeks of leave with a progressive wage replacement so lower wage workers receive a higher percentage.
  • Child Tax Credit: Restoration of the enhanced, fully-refundable, and monthly Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty in half in 2021. Under the President’s proposals, families with children under 6 would be eligible to once again receive $300 per month per child in monthly advances of the Child Tax Credit.
  • Maternal and Infant Health: $571 million for the blueprint to address the maternal health crisis, as well as requiring 12 months of post-partum Medicaid coverage.

See the table below for more information on current and proposed federal funding levels for key programs that ZERO TO THREE tracks. Watch for updates as Congress moves through the funding process.

Urge Congress to #ThinkBabies in the fiscal year 2024 budget.


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