A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Dec 21, 2012

By Hannah Matthews

This time last year, news of the first Early Learning Challenge grant recipients dominated early childhood headlines and advocates celebrated modest increases in funding for core early childhood programs in what was a very tight federal budget. 

This year, as we prepare to close the book on 2012, it feels as if challenges dominate. Negotiations to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff continue with weighty implications for low-income families, as well as early childhood funding. In the meantime, while policymakers are bargaining, vulnerable families continue a daily struggle in an economy that favors those with the highest incomes.

With persistent child poverty and threats to the very programs that provide opportunity to young children as a backdrop, we have focused much of our work this past year on raising up the needs of our country's youngest children. We've urged policymakers to protect investments in children, we've denounced proposals that would roll back support for children, we've called out new lows in child care assistance, harmful state policy trends in child care and preschool, and the absence of paid leave for parents.

But we've not only played defense.

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