Advocacy Tool

National Partners Join Forces to Think Babies

Over 60 national organizations with diverse missions, memberships and expertise have joined the campaign.

ZERO TO THREE created Think Babies™to make the potential of every baby our national priority. Early experiences shape how a baby’s brain develops, laying the foundation for future learning, behavior and health. Think Babies is a call to action for federal and state policymakers to prioritize the needs of infants, toddlers and their families and invest in our future.

Think Babies is powered by a growing network of advocates and partners across the country working together to educate policymakers and ensure that all babies and their families get the support they need to thrive, including quality affordable child care, time for parents to bond with their babies, healthy emotional development, and strong physical health and nutrition. Our national partners are sharing their unique perspectives on why it is important to Think Babies and providing deep expertise on key policy areas. From child care providers to pediatricians to police chiefs, our partners are elevating the voices of trusted messengers and champions for babies and mobilizing their networks of parents, professionals and advocates around the country.

The science is clear. Our brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than any later point in life, forming more than one million new neural connections every second. When babies have nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good nutrition, those neural connections are stimulated and strengthened, laying a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. When babies don’t get what their growing brains need to thrive, they don’t develop as they should. This leads to life-long developmental, educational, social and health challenges. When we Think Babies and invest in infants, toddlers and their families, we ensure a strong future for us all.

Partners have joined us to make the case for Think Babies policy priorities and provided practical guidance for policymakers and advocates pursuing these goals. Our partners Think Babies by:

Elevating the Focus on Babies in State and Federal Policy

In partnership with Think Babies, the National Governors Association (NGA) and National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) have developed resources for state policymakers on why it is important to focus on the needs of babies and toddlers, as well as summaries of research-based policy recommendations and recent legislation:

National partners also regularly join Think Babies efforts to educate Congress and advocate for federal programs and funding that help babies and their families thrive. For example, national partners work with ZERO TO THREE each year to spread the word about Strolling Thunder™, the marquee event of the Think Babies campaign, where families with babies and toddlers come from all over the country to share their stories with Members of Congress.

Supporting State Think Babies Campaigns

Several national partners – including American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA), Council for a Strong America (CSA), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) – are mobilizing their state affiliates in the six states with Think Babies campaigns to serve as active partners in state campaign coalitions. Many of these state affiliates are also amplifying the message to Think Babies with their networks through new resources, social media, sessions at professional conferences, and state and local events or advocacy trainings.

Engaging Parents as Advocates

Partners are engaging parents both in supporting their own children’s healthy development and becoming advocates for babies. For example, NBCDI developed and distributed Baby Brain Buildings: Tools and Tips for Families, a parenting tip sheet that also includes resources on how to become an advocate for policies that help babies and families thrive. In addition, MomsRising has engaged their network of parents in the Think Babies campaign on social media, including through a tweet chat focused on state Think Babies campaigns and how to get involved.

Supporting an Equitable Start

ZERO TO THREE is working with national partners to elevate a focus on racial and economic equity in state and federal policy. In partnership with Think Babies, PolicyLink developed a policy brief highlighting gaps in opportunity in early childhood, and making the case for both paid leave policy and investments in quality, affordable childcare to ensure that all babies have an equitable start. Through partnerships with NBCDI and Unidos US, we are raising awareness of inequities facing Black and Latino families with infants and toddlers. For example, Unidos US worked with Think Babies to publish stories and videos of promising strategies in North Carolina and Washington to support early childhood development in Latino communities.

Promoting Think Babies Policy Priorities

Think Babies partners actively engage in advocacy on social media to raise awareness and educate Congress on the campaign’s priorities of quality affordable child care, time for parents to bond with their babies, healthy emotional development, and strong physical health and nutrition. Several partners have also developed resources or participated in Think Babies advocacy efforts focused on specific campaign policy priorities. The following are highlights of these resources and activities:

Quality, affordable child care

Time for parents to bond with their babies

Healthy emotional development

Strong physical health and nutrition

  • Author

    Amanda Szekely

    Senior Advocacy Partnerships Manager


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