Policy Resource

Government Shutdown Jeopardizes Babies’ Most Basic Needs

Jan 10, 2019

The following statement regarding the current partial government shutdown should be attributed to Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE:

“At early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE, we are disturbed to see the partial government shutdown heading toward its fourth week. A baby’s development doesn’t shut down merely because our government has. The longer the shutdown continues, the more babies’ most basic needs will be put at risk. Not only are tens of thousands of babies’ economic security in peril due to their parents’ and caregivers’ furlough, but without funding, vital programs that support healthy development will cease normal operation.

“Programs that serve as the first line of defense for babies facing hunger are the most vulnerable if the shutdown were to continue for an extended period of time. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food assistance to more than 7 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and young children is facing uncertainty, with funding estimated to run out this month. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food to over 6 million children under 5 and their families, hangs in the balance. Babies and families living in federally-subsidized housing may be facing eviction if public housing authorities are unable to honor housing vouchers. As agencies search for long-term funding solutions, families with young children are left with the stress of unpredictability.

“Access to nutrition and housing is essential for infants and toddlers during a time of rapid growth and development, with implications for their future health and success. ZERO TO THREE calls on Congress and the Administration to end the shutdown and ensure these crucial programs continue to support families with young children without interruption.”


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 zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

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