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: 2021 shows a mix of barriers and facilitators related to strong families. For example:
- Before COVID-19, as many as 40% of infants and toddlers lived in families with low income (less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level) or $54,000 for a family of four and did not have the financial resources to make ends meet. This includes nearly 19% of the nation’s 11.5 million babies who were living in outright poverty.
- 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 associated with higher risk of COVID infection and was already known to jeopardize development. States ranged from a low of 6% to a high of 28% in this respect.
- Nearly 8% of infants and toddlers have already had two or more adverse experiences. This ranges from a low of 2% to a high of 18%.