Washington, D.C. – A new report by the Center for American Progress delves into how a variety of social determinants of health shape infant and toddlers’ lifelong learning, health, and overall well-being. By age three, children are at a pivotal developmental period during which early experiences and their environments can set them up for lifelong success. Yet chronic underinvestment in ensuring infants and toddlers have access to educational opportunities and proper care remains—particularly for children of color and children from low-income families. To support families for generations to come, this report calls for an intersectional and multigenerational approach to policy change that prioritizes access to health care and a range of family-supportive programs.
“If we stay the current course and fail to invest in ensuring expanded and equitable access to critical social and economic supports, we’re doing a disservice to the next generation,” said Hailey Gibbs, senior policy analyst for Early Childhood Policy and co-author of the report. “A child’s health and well-being provide the building blocks for strong development. It’s long past due that we reject rigid thinking that very young children are insulated from broader problems, such as access to secure housing, caregivers’ job security, and insurance churn. We must refresh our thinking to take a more holistic approach that will ensure our policy response is coordinated, equitable, and sustainable.”
“We know just how crucial early experiences and environment are in helping infants and toddlers thrive. Yet chronic underinvestment in fundamental social programs that help reduce inequities during infancy and toddlerhood fails to acknowledge the importance of these early years for lifelong health and well-being. Congress must use a multigenerational approach to policymaking, with an eye toward improving financial stability and expanding access to key family supports to ensure that all children have a strong start in life,” said Allie Schneider, research associate for Early Childhood Policy and co-author of the report.
Read the report: “Disparities in Housing, Health Care, Child Care, and Economic Security Affect Babies for Life” by Allie Schneider and Hailey Gibbs
Read the first report in this series: “A Strong Start in Life: How Public Health Policies Affect the Well-Being of Pregnancies and Families” by Hailey Gibbs, Marquisha Johns, and Osub Ahmed
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