Policy Resource

Our inaugural blog!

Feb 14, 2011

The first day of our Federal Policy Baby Blog comes as momentous events for programs affecting infants and toddlers are unfolding in Washington. It should have been a Valentine for babies, but there are no hearts and flowers coming from Capitol Hill. Infant-toddler advocates need to be aware of the need for action to oppose deep cuts proposed in the House for 2011 funding.

But first a little good news: President Obama kicked off the Fiscal Year 2012 budget season today by presenting his proposals for funding levels throughout the government to Congress. The President remains committed to promoting early learning, with greater investments in Head Start/Early Head Start, child care, and the proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund. An in-depth analysis will be coming soon. Meanwhile, ZERO TO THREE produced a series of videos to help guide you through the process and learn how you can make a difference for babies. Click here to learn more about “Babies and the Budget".

All eyes on the House 2011 funding bill: Final funding levels for Fiscal Year 2011 still have not been set, and services for many infants and toddlers hang in the balance. This week, the House will debate an appropriations bill for the remainder of the year that would slash funding for programs that support the multi-dimensional needs of infants and toddlers. Head Start and Early Head Start would receive a shocking cut of $1.08 billion from the 2010 level, resulting in the largest loss of funding and services to children in the program’s 46 year history. Child care would receive a $39 million cut from the 2010 level. These funding levels fall far short of being able to sustain services currently being provided with the boost from funding included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

An estimated 368,000 children stand to lose services through Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care—a potential catastrophe for our nation’s young children.

When we look at the overall picture in the proposed CR, the potential impacts on the development of infants and toddlers are grave. Young children need a range of supports for healthy development: child care and early learning programs, certainly, but also access to doctors, good nutrition, stable housing, adequate heating, families free from substance abuse, pollution-free environments. The proposed House funding bill would make cuts in all these areas, potentially derailing the health and development of thousands of infants and toddlers. ZERO TO THREE’s detailed analysis of the cuts, the benefits of the programs to young children, and the costs of not providing crucial services is available here . To learn more about the continuing resolution and how to act, watch our new video, “Stop the Cuts: Babies Can’t Wait!”

Take action to prevent drastic 2011 cuts! Infant-toddler advocates need to make their voices heard with their Members of Congress. The message is simple:

Oppose the proposed 2011 House funding bill that will undermine the development of America’s babies. The only way to prevent a future of greater need is to take care of our youngest children now.

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