Policy Resource

ZERO TO THREE Celebrates Appropriations Deal

Dec 17, 2019

After weeks of negotiations, Senate and House of Representatives negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement on FY2020 appropriations bills. ZERO TO THREE applauds a number of funding increases that will help children and families thrive.

After weeks of negotiations, Senate and House of Representatives negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement on FY2020 appropriations bills. ZERO TO THREE, the leading national nonprofit advocating on behalf of babies and toddlers, applauds a number of funding increases that will help children and families thrive. Following Congressional approval, the President is expected to sign the agreement later this week. Key investments critical to babies’ healthy development include:

  • A $550 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant;
  • An increase of $550 million for Head Start/Early Head Start (EHS), of which $100 million is set aside to expand EHS, including through EHS-Child Care Partnerships;
  • An increase of $2 million for the Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program;
  • A $7 million increase for the Infant-Toddler Court Program;
  • A $7 million increase for Part C Early Intervention; and,
  • A $25 million increase for Preschool Development Grants Birth-Five.

Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE, stated:

“There are 12 million infants and toddlers in the U.S., each born with unlimited potential. But we know that our current system of policies and programs has not kept up with what babies and families across the country need to thrive. ZERO TO THREE is delighted to see the budget deal reached for FY20 appropriations, a clear sign of Congress’ commitment to providing babies and their families with the programs they need to thrive.

“Today’s families are stressed from juggling the dual roles of working to make ends meet and parenting our future workers. Families with few economic and social resources are particularly challenged to buffer their children from the chronic, unrelenting stress that can be toxic to the developing brain. These funding increases will, in part, help families give their babies the start in life that will ensure a strong future for our nation.

“In particular, ZERO TO THREE is pleased to see a 40 percent increase to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Promotion, Intervention, and Treatment grants, for a total of $7 million. With this increase, Congress has recognized the importance of the mental health of young children and their families. By investing in early mental health prevention, identification, and treatment, we can reduce the need for treatment later in life, when it becomes much more difficult, time-intensive, and expensive.

“Additionally, we are thrilled to have championed an investment in transforming our country’s child welfare system through a $7 million increase for the Infant-Toddler Court Program. Since 2014, less than 1 percent of children with closed cases in the program have experienced a recurrence of maltreatment, compared with the national standard of 9.1 percent. Based on ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Team™ approach, this program is truly changing lives.

“Finally, we are pleased to have fought for increases for Early Head Start, as well as the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Both programs provide families access to resources and services that help ensure positive development and long-term outcomes for their little ones.

“We are proud to have championed these critical investments and remain committed to working with Congress and the Administration in the months and years ahead to ensure they make babies’ potential a national priority.”

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.

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