President’s Budget Proposal Groundbreaking for Babies, Toddlers

March 20, 2014

A look at how President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget would impact infants and toddlers, from ZERO TO THREE. 

March 19, 2014–President Obama has made babies and toddlers a priority in his 2014 budget proposal, with a substantial investment in early learning, according to the child-focused research and advocacy organization ZERO TO THREE.

The President’s Plan for Early Education for All Americans is the roadmap for the early learning components of the budget. The budget includes $1.4 billion to expand the comprehensive supports offered to the most vulnerable families through Early Head Start – which for almost 20 years has proven it improves both child and parental outcomes. The plan would provide $200 million in 2014 specifically to create more high-quality child care options for babies and toddlers with working parents, using Early Head Start’s quality benchmarks, expertise, and resources. Looking ahead, the budget proposal provides for $7 billion over 10 years to ensure young children and families have access to high-quality child care.


“The release of President Obama’s budget today marks a groundbreaking moment for babies and toddlers in this country – especially those who are at risk and may lack thepositive early learning experiences they need to succeed in school and life, ” says Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE. “I applaud President Obama for his leadership in emphasizing how important it is as a nation for us to begin where learning begins – at birth.”


The President’s plan also extends and expands home visiting – which has been warmly embraced by states, communities, and parents – to reach more families where they live, with information, guidance, and encouragement.  The budget proposal released today allocates $15 billion of funding over 10 years to invest in this effort.  “Babies don’t come with an instruction manual, and every parent can benefit from reliable information about early learning and a helping hand,” says Melmed.  “The President’s plan helps parents utilize what science and evidence-based practice has to offer in order to give babies, toddlers, and young children the best start in life.”

The President’s plan is rooted in brain science, which tells us that babies are born wired to learn. Starting on the first day of a child’s life, positive early experiences establish a strong foundation upon which all later learning and healthy development is built. But infants and toddlers who lack quality early learning experiences can fall quickly behind.  Research clearly shows that gaps can appear even before their first birthday.

The President’s plan builds on what we know works: start early with consistent, high-quality, evidence-based supports that match what parents need and help parents nurture the early development of their babies and toddlers.  

“This is a smart plan. We know what quality looks like and what babies need,” concludes Melmed.  “By leveraging what we know works to help families, our nation can improve the care for babies and give them a strong start toward future success.”

Lynette Ciervo is the Communications Strategist at ZERO TO THREE,  a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the health and development of infants and toddlers.