Leading Early Childhood Development Advocate Responds to Administration’s FY 2020 Budget
The following statement regarding the Administration’s budget should be attributed to Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE.
“The first three years of a child’s life shape every year that follows. Yet far too many babies face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow. When babies don’t get what their growing brains need to thrive, they don’t develop as they should.
“The Administration’s budget will strip many of the supports babies need to succeed, including healthcare, a roof over their heads and healthy food. Without raising budget caps, these programs and others that families rely on will suffer, with long term consequences for babies’ healthy development.
“As shown in the newly released State of Babies Yearbook: 2019, the youngest children in this country face big challenges, with as many as 45 percent of them living in families without the resources to meet their basic needs. This new data underscore the need to increase investments in the programs and services that support children’s early development, not divest in our future.
“Most working families in America struggle to find affordable, quality child care. While we are pleased to see the Administration’s interest in child care, a one-time increase is not enough to solve the challenges families and providers face. By connecting competitive funding with deregulation, families could lose basic protections that ensure babies are safe and well cared for. It’s time for a robust overhaul of our child care system to ensure parents can work and their babies receive the high-quality care their rapid brain development requires.
“The budget’s paid parental leave plan would be insufficient to meet the caregiving needs of working families. By only providing paid time away from work after the birth or adoption of a child—and not ensuring a sustainable funding source—this proposal would shortchange families and does not reflect the range of working families’ caregiving needs. Alternatively, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would create a comprehensive national program that makes paid leave affordable for employers of all sizes and available to all workers and their families.
“We cannot expect a ‘better America’ tomorrow without giving babies and their families the support they need today. The time to make every baby our national priority is now.
“ZERO TO THREE calls on Congress and the Administration to invest in programs and policies that will generate big returns for our future when today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders.”
About ZERO TO THREE 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.