Omnibus Spending Bill Makes Historic Investments in Young Children's Programs
The following statement in response to historic investments in programs that support young children in the omnibus spending bill released March 21 may be attributed to Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE:
“The final omnibus spending bill is a huge win for America’s babies, with an historic investment in child care funding for working families, as well as first-time funding for infant and early childhood mental health. It is an investment in the country’s future that will yield huge dividends for tomorrow’s workforce and economy.
The omnibus includes the largest-ever increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, adding $2.37 billion. These funds will help to restore access to child care for low-income working families that was lost during the last decade, as well as help states boost the quality of infant-toddler care. The spending bill also includes $5 million to fund grants to support infant and early childhood mental health, a first- time federal investment, as well as a $115 million increase for Early Head Start, a crucial program that can change the course for infants and toddlers living in poverty.
These crucial programs invest when it matters most – starting on day one. Babies’ brains make more than one million neural connections every second in the first few years, laying the foundation for all future learning. Access to quality programs and services during these early years can set children on a path to school success, with long-term benefits that yield great returns to our country.
The imminent passage of the omnibus bill will contribute to the foundation of healthy development necessary for all babies to thrive. By giving them the best tools for success, Congress has made a tremendous investment in the country’s future health and long-term success.”
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