What Does the Election Mean for Babies?
As we transition to a new Administration and Congress, ZERO TO THREE will work beside you to advocate on the issues impacting infants, toddlers and their families.
by Amanda Perez, Senior Advocacy Specialist, ZERO TO THREE
Infant and toddler advocates know that the health and well-being of the 10,000 babies born in the United States each day are a strong gauge of the nation’s long-term prosperity. When babies thrive, we know that key investments and strategies to strengthen our families, communities, and country are working. When they are struggling, we know things have to be fixed.
Everyone—from the adults who care for a baby to the policymakers who make decisions on her behalf—has an obligation to ensure she can reach her full potential.
While much of the national focus in recent months and weeks has been on our country’s sharp divides, one point of clarity has emerged from the campaign season: issues affecting infants, toddlers, and their families are being recognized by both sides of the aisle. President-Elect Donald Trump recognized the needs of young children and their hard-working families through child care and paid leave policy ideas during his campaign. Historically, support for increased investments in the early years has spanned the political, geographic, and demographic lines that divide American voters: they know ensuring that infants, toddlers, and families have the supports they need to thrive and succeed benefits us all.
Nurturing the promise represented by every single baby has to be our nation’s number one priority. Everyone—from the adults who care for a baby to the policymakers who make decisions on her behalf—has an obligation to ensure she can reach her full potential. If we do not meet this responsibility, we undermine our nation’s future stability and productivity. We will not have the workers, thinkers, and innovators needed to face the challenges of mid-century and beyond. That includes challenges like ensuring economic competitiveness and prosperity, maintaining a strong defense with a population up to the high-tech tasks ahead, and inventing new technologies just as inconceivable to us as computers and space travel were to our grandparents. If we want all these things for the future, the foundations are being laid now in the arms of parents and caregivers all over the country.
The new Administration and Congress must seize this chance to move policies and programs that guarantee babies the best possible start in life. A roadmap that spans and supports the critical milestones in a baby’s development ideally will include:
- A national paid family leave policy to ensure new parents, both dads and moms, get critical time to bond and spend with their newborns.
- A major expansion of Early Head Start’s two-generation approach to reach infants and toddlers most in danger of seeing their potential drained away.
- Investments to ensure all families can access quality, affordable child care, with a major surge to improve the quality of infant-toddler care.
- Making sure parents have the supports they need, starting with preserving and expanding the successful Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which provides voluntary, evidence-based, home visiting services.
As we transition to a new Administration and Congress, ZERO TO THREE will work beside you to advocate on these issues, described in more detail in our federal policy agenda. Let’s make sure our elected officials know that ensuring infants, toddlers, and families have the supports they need to thrive and succeed benefits us all. Watch The Baby Monitor for more information on ZERO TO THREE’s policy work—and ways you can get involved—in 2017. For more information, visit the Policy and Advocacy section of our website.