Organization urges Congress to swiftly and boldly act in the best interest of infants, toddlers, and their families
Today, President Joseph R. Biden released his FY2022 budget, detailing a $6 trillion investment in our country’s infrastructure and significant support for our nation’s babies and toddlers. 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 budget for taking critical and historic steps to help the nation’s babies and families move beyond the impact of the pandemic and build a stronger foundation in the future. The organization urged Congress to enact legislation swiftly to provide robust, permanent supports for America’s families and young children.
ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor stated:
“Babies are our nation’s infrastructure. When we invest in our children and their families, we lift up our entire country and ensure babies spend those early, brain building years in supportive environments. The White House’s proposed budget will strengthen the fabric that supports our babies’ healthy development now and in the future, increasing the quality and availability of child care, expanding access to paid leave, and promoting families’ economic security. Care for our babies and families can’t wait. This budget will lay a strong foundation for the future and invest in robust policies that work for everyone.
“There are 11.5 million infants and toddlers in the United States, and each one is born with unlimited potential. This budget is an opportunity for Congress to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and pave the way for the future by shoring up the threadbare systems meant to support babies and families. Earlier this month, families from every state and the District of Columbia met with their Members of Congress to push for many of the supports laid out in the President’s proposed budget. Congress must recognize that the families they represent are demanding change. These policies are not only an investment in their own children’s success, but in the infrastructure necessary for our communities and country to thrive in the future.”
President Biden’s proposed budget would:
- Establish a new paid family and medical leave program, at a cost of $225 billion over 10 years;
- Extend American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit enhancements, including the $3,600 per child credit for families with young children, through 2025 and make full refundability permanent, ensuring the lowest income families can receive the full value of the credit moving forward;
- Expand access to child care and early learning by investing $225 billion over the next 10 years in the new child care program described in the American Families Plan. It would guarantee families with low and moderate income have their child care costs capped at 7 percent of family income, while investing in high quality care and ensuring early educators make at least $15/hour, with a pathway to pay parity with similarly credentialed kindergarten teachers.
- Invest $25 billion in a new Child Care Growth and Innovation Fund to increase the supply of child care in underserved areas.
- Add $1.2 billion for Head Start, including doubling funding for Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships. Additionally, the budget would dedicate $25.7 billion to increase Head Start teacher salaries over the next ten years.
- Provide $100 million in new competitive grants for states and localities to advance reforms that would reduce the overrepresentation of children and families of color in the child welfare system;
- Allocate $10 million to help cities place early childhood development experts in pediatrician offices with a high percentage of patients with Medicaid and CHIP;
- Provide nearly $27 billion for Child Nutrition Programs and $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),
- Expand the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant to $1.6 billion to serve more populations, including infants, toddlers, and their families; and
- Provide $732 million for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays.