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Strong Families

Strong Families
a woman holding a baby as he sleeps

Babies need stable families and strong relationships to grow. Nurturing relationships, together with meeting basic needs, support strong physical and emotional development, laying the foundation for a strong start in life.

Strong families need policy supports related to:

  • Basic needs support
  • Child welfare
  • Home visiting
  • Supportive policies/paid leave

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 shows a mix of barriers and facilitators related to strong families. For example:

  • Nearly 9% of infants and toddlers have already had two or more adverse experiences. This ranges from a low of 1% to a high of 21%. In 18 states, it exceeds 10%.
  • Nationally, only 22% of families in poverty with an infant or toddler receive federal cash assistance, but access to those benefits ranges widely from a low of 3% to a high of 88%, depending on how states allocate their TANF funds.
  • 16% of infants and toddlers live in crowded housing, which is known to jeopardize development. States ranged from a low of 6% to a high of 28% in this respect.

A Closer Look: Strong Families & Equity

Findings for families with young children reveal differences in access to resources that help them meet their babies’ daily needs, contributors to family stability, and exposure to adverse events when examined by race/ethnicity, income, and urbanicity. Differences in income affect the largest number of indicators in this domain. However, there are common challenges revealed, such as crowded housing, which babies of color are two to three times more likely to experience than their White peers, babies in low income families are three times more than those in families above low income to encounter, and urban babies are somewhat more likely to experience than rural babies.