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For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2006
Congress Hurts Children’s Opportunities for Years to Come
Federal Budget Cuts Harmful for Low-Income Children
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a budget that takes away child care assistance, health care access, and other needed supports from hundreds of thousands of children from low-income working families, hurting their chances to succeed now and in the future.
“As a voice for all children, NAEYC believes that investing in children’s high quality early childhood education, health care, and family economic stability should be the first national investment priority. This vote is the wrong direction for our nation to provide all children the opportunity to develop health, successful learning, and positive life experiences,” said Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D., Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). “As Congress now turns to the next budget cycle, NAEYC will work with members of Congress to restore these investments and to make a greater commitment to our nation’s children and families that will not only benefit them, but also contribute to the long-term success of our country as a whole.”
The budget approved by the House of Representatives today includes several reductions that will harm low-income young children:
- Dramatic changes to TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) policies coupled with woefully insufficient child care assistance funding that could result in more low income, non-TANF children losing child care assistance;
- States can reduce services for nearly all of the 28 million children enrolled in Medicaid, leaving many children with only wrap around supports, which are unlikely to provide them the benefits they need;
- Reductions to child support enforcement means many children will not have the basic income supports they deserve.
- Cuts to student loans will make it harder for many early childhood educators to go to college and earn degrees.
A strong body of research shows that high quality child care, Head Start, and other early childhood education programs help children be ready for kindergarten and can have long term positive impacts on reduced special education, juvenile delinquency, and school dropout rates. James J. Heckman, Nobel-prize winning economist from the University of Chicago, noted in the January 10, 2006 Wall Street Journal that investments in quality early childhood education can produce a return on investment of up to 17 percent for every dollars spent. When the President’s budget for 2007 is released next week, he has the opportunity to show that our children are a national priority.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has nearly 90,000 members worldwide. The association is the largest and most influential advocate for early care and education in the
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Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.