ZERO TO THREE’s State of Babies Yearbook: 2022 provides policymakers with the information they need to advance state policies to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. Telling the story of America’s babies is more important than ever. Share the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022 with your state and local policymakers and encourage them to learn more about how your state measures up on nearly 60 data points essential to ensuring babies have what they need to thrive.
As a constituent, I’m writing to share new information about how babies are faring in [STATE] and urge you to Think Babies™ and invest in our future.
The State of Babies Yearbook: 2022 shows that all is not alright for the littlest among us. The 2022 Yearbook reaffirms that families with infants and toddlers continue to struggle in the absence of a strong policy agenda for babies that prioritizes the economic security, health, and early learning needs of babies and their families. The 2022 findings show the longstanding disparities in good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences, draining our state’s future potential and leaving families to fend for themselves. We urgently need to build and strengthen the systems our babies need to thrive.
According to the Yearbook, [INSERT STATE DATA] percent of babies in [STATE] were living in poverty before the COVID-19 crisis, and survey data demonstrates that economic hardship has increased for families with young children as a result of the pandemic. Exploring the numbers by race and ethnicity presents a clearer picture, revealing that as many as [INSERT STATE DATA] percent of Black babies and [INSERT STATE DATA] percent of Hispanic babies in our state were already living in poverty compared to [INSERT STATE DATA] on average. The data are clear: by nearly every measure, children living in families with low income and children of color face the biggest obstacles, created in large part by structural racism and inadequate wages. Babies of color and babies in families with low income are more likely to have experiences that produce chronic stress, which can undermine development. The effects of this stress can last a lifetime.
The need to make the potential of every baby our national priority has never been more urgent. A baby’s brain develops faster between ages 0 to 3 than at any later point in life, forming more than one million new neural connections every second. Every baby deserves to reach their full potential. Where you’re born, the color of your skin, or your family’s income should not make a difference in your chances for a strong start in life.
We must Think Babies and make the potential of every baby our national priority. To comprehensively meet babies’ needs beyond the temporary supports enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and build stronger systems for the future, we need to [ADAPT PRIORITIES AS APPROPRIATE BASED ON YOUR STATE CONTEXT]:
- Invest in high–quality, affordable child care
- Enact permanent paid family and medical leave
- Permanently expand the Child Tax Credit
- Expand Early Head Start
- Invest in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
- Transform systems for strong family support
I hope that you will find stateofbabies.org a helpful resource as you shape policies that will impact our state’s babies, families, and future. I would be happy to discuss this further with you. [INSERT CONTACT INFORMATION]