NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED559626
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Call to Action on Behalf of U.S. Babies
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world without a paid leave policy for parents at or around the birth of a child. Prenatal care in the U.S. remains expensive, while virtually all other industrialized countries provide free or affordable prenatal care. While families in the U.S. pay about 80 percent of the direct cost of child care services, parents in European countries pay about 30 percent. WestEd's J. Ronald Lally says we can--and must--do better. With more than 45 years of experience developing programs and policies to improve the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families, Lally understands the urgency and necessity of supporting the healthy development of America's next generation. The latest research in brain science confirms what Lally and other child development experts and practitioners have known for decades: a healthy, nurturing, and engaging first three years are critical to babies' brain development, which supports their later success in school and life. Problems that result from inadequate care of children ages zero to three are difficult, costly, and sometimes impossible to correct. Unfortunately, the United States has a long way to go to adequately nurture its young. It currently lags far behind virtually all other industrialized countries in the support it provides to infants, toddlers, and their families. "American babies are getting inadequate prenatal care, less time at home with their parents during the first year of life, and fewer and lower-quality child care services, compared to babies in other industrialized countries," says Lally, Co-Director of the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. "The United States needs to become much more strategic and farsighted in the way it supports its children during their critical first few years of life." This reality is why Lally and his colleagues launched For Our Babies, a national initiative to promote healthy development in U.S. children from conception to age three. During this period of life, a baby's brain undergoes an enormous transformation--growing from 25 to 85 percent of its adult size. The latest scientific research indicates that the actual physical structure of a baby's brain, as well as its functioning, is significantly shaped by experiences and environments in the baby's first three years. [This article was first published in WestEd's R&D Alert, Vol. 14, No.3, 2014.]
WestEd. 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1242. Tel: 877-493-7833; Tel: 415-565-3000; Fax: 415-565-3012; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: Policymakers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: WestEd
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Family and Medical Leave Act 1993