Washington State’s Senator Patty Murray Awarded Baby Champion Legislative Leadership Award by ZERO TO THREE

May 10, 2018

Senator Murray receives the award for making babies and young children a national priority.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of its second annual Strolling Thunder event, ZERO TO THREE presented U.S. Senator Patty Murray with its Baby Champion Legislative Leadership Award. This honor recognizes members of Congress and others who make babies and young children a national priority, and who fight to be big voices for little kids.

“The science is clear - babies’ brains grow faster between the ages of 0 and 3 than at any later point in life. In fact, their brains form more than 1 million new neural connections every second,” said Matthew Melmed, ZERO TO THREE Executive Director. “Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good nutrition can strengthen those connections, laying the foundation for the rest of their lives. With baby champions like Senator Murray on board, we can ensure a strong future for us all.”

As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations subcommittee, Senator Patty Murray is a leader in setting Congressional funding priorities for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes critical funding for babies and toddlers. In the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, HHS received unprecedented funding levels for young children. Federal appropriations for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) were nearly doubled for FY2018, Early Head Start received an increase of $115 million for expanding that program, and, for the first time ever, Congress funded Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health grants.

“As a former preschool teacher, I understand how critical the first few years are for a child’s brain development,” said Senator Murray. “Because so many parents and families like those who attended Strolling Thunder stood up and made their voices heard on the importance of investing in our youngest learners, I’m pleased we were able to secure the largest increase in child care funding ever and a significant increase in Head Start in the bipartisan spending bill. This is a strong step forward and I look forward to working with ZERO TO THREE to make our goal of high-quality early learning and care for every child a reality.”

Families from all 50 states and the District of Columbia gathered on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, sharing their stories with their Members of Congress and urging them to take action for stronger families, vibrant communities, and a prosperous country.


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit, or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

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    Stephanie Millian

    Former Senior Communications Director

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