Policy Resource

Leading Early Childhood Development Advocate Responds to President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address

Feb 5, 2019

The following statement regarding the State of the Union address should be attributed to Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE:

“Today’s babies will be the workers who build a strong economy, the scientists who make breakthroughs to cure disease, and the leaders who will provide a vision for the next century. So today, on the 26th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, we appreciate the President’s mention of paid leave in his State of the Union address.

“Americans on both sides of the aisle agree now is the time for policymakers to secure the best beginnings for children and the best future for our country by supporting a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program.

“Our president welcomed us tonight noting we meet ‘at a moment of unlimited potential.’ The same can be said of our youngest, most valuable resource. Instead of labeling some babies as being ‘at-risk,’ we should stamp ‘unlimited potential’ on each tiny forehead.

“The success and independence of America’s families depend just as much on the support we provide for our babies as they do on investments in infrastructure and national security. The time after the birth or adoption of a baby is an essential time of development. Because early relationships nurture early brain connections that form the foundation for all learning that follows, parents and caregivers are on the front line of preparing our future workers, innovators, and leaders. Parents should not have to risk their family’s financial security in order to bond with their new babies or be by their side in the event of a major health hurdle.

“Investments in policies and programs that ensure infants and toddlers have what they need to thrive—good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences—help babies realize their full potential today, guaranteeing a prosperous nation tomorrow. While some states and localities have taken the lead in adopting paid family leave policies, the ability of families to care for their babies should not depend on their income, employer, zip code, or gender.

“ZERO TO THREE calls on the Administration and Congress to create a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave insurance program, such as the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The state of our union can only be strong when we nurture our children who will shape its future, and make their potential our priority.”


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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