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Miller, Santorum Release New Early Childhood Recommendations

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Washington, D.C. – A new Bipartisan Policy Center report released today calls for expanding the federal child tax credit, making child care higher quality and more affordable, and adopting a new national policy on paid leave as key strategies to better support working families.

The Early Childhood Initiative, led by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former California Rep. George Miller, makes more than two dozen policy recommendations aimed at ensuring all American children can get the strong start they need to grow into successful, productive adults. The recommendations include steps to prioritize the quality of the early care workforce, and—in an issue of urgent importance—address the impacts of opioid and substance use disorders on children and families.

“Parents face difficult trade-offs these days. Many families are not able to make the choices they believe will ensure the best outcomes for their children,” said Santorum. “I am increasingly concerned about the long-term impact of American kids not getting a good start in life. Families have changed and our federal policies need to change to better help families be healthy and strong.”

“We came together to promote policies that can help provide families with choices—from affording child care to benefiting from effective home visiting programs, to ensuring that the early childhood workforce has the support and training needed to provide high-quality care,” said Miller. “Our nation’s children are our most important asset, and our long-term security and prosperity depend on their success from an early age.”

Our nation’s children are our most important asset, and our long-term security and prosperity depend on their success from an early age.

Of the 73.6 million children in the United States today, almost 20 million are under age 5. These children are especially vulnerable, with tens of millions of youngsters growing up in environments and under circumstances that prevent them from developing their full potential. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence suggests that the first five years of life are a pivotal time for brain development and that early experiences provide a foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.

Key recommendations include:

  • An expanded Child Tax Credit of $2,500 per eligible child through age five and begin phasing in the credit at the first dollar earned;
  • Reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program for five years at current funding levels at minimum;
  • Develop and adopt a new, national policy on paid leave;
  • Increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant for children ages 0 to 5 and require states to provide these expanded resources at a 75 percent reimbursement rate;
  • Increase the value of and access to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit;
  • Align and integrate funding and services to better address treatment and recovery needs of parents and their infants and young children.

KEYWORDS: GEORGE MILLER, RICK SANTORUM, EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVE, EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT