Month: September 2019

Proposed Changes to SNAP Would Increase Food Insecurity

Once again, the Trump Administration is proposing to take away vital nutrition assistance from women, children and their families. Today, 1,000 Days submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging them to withdraw newly proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These changes would make it more difficult for children and their families to get the food they need to thrive.

SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger and poverty for many low-income families in America. As the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, it helps millions of families put food on the table. Nearly one-third of all children in the U.S. under age 5 participate in SNAP, including 2.2 million infants and toddlers. Research shows that SNAP participation contributes to improved birthweights, lower risks of developmental delays and better health. It also significantly reduces child poverty, with long-lasting benefits. When young children have access to SNAP, they have better health and improved economic self-sufficiency as adults.

The Administration’s proposed changes to SNAP would take away this critical support from struggling individuals and families. USDA estimates that 7.4 percent of all participating households with children would lose access to SNAP – meaning an estimated 1.9 million children (and the adults they live with) will no longer receive the nutrition assistance they need to thrive. USDA’s own analysis predicts that the proposal would increase food insecurity among individuals who lose access to SNAP.

Already, 1 in 7 U.S. households with children under age 6 are food insecure, meaning that they are at times unable to provide enough food for every member of the household. When it comes to our youngest children, a staggering 1 in 6 infants and toddlers live in poverty. This is especially concerning given how critical good nutrition during early life is for lifelong health and well-being. The first 1,000 days offer a unique window of opportunity to build healthier and more prosperous futures – but, the proposed changes to SNAP would put a healthy first 1,000 days out of reach for millions more families in the United States.

1,000 Days is committed to standing strong against the proposed rule and other threats to SNAP. This critical program supports the nutrition, health and economic security of millions of families who rely on it for a healthy first 1,000 days.

What We’re Watching in Congress

Members of Congress spent August in their states and districts, connecting with constituents and their communities. As they return to Washington for a busy month, here are several issues we will be keeping an eye on:

Progress on FY2020 Federal Funding

In July, Congressional leaders and the White House reached a top-line spending deal for FY2020. Current funding for the federal government runs out on September 30, 2019. 1,000 Days will continue to engage with lawmakers and partners to ensure they prioritize investments in the nutrition and health of women and young children, specifically gains in global nutrition funding, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breastfeeding promotion and the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program.

Progress on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Over the recess, Senators were drafting marker bills to be considered in a legislative package reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act. One such proposal, the Wise Investment in our Children (or WIC) Act (S. 2358) was introduced by Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). It outlines a number of opportunities to strengthen and expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, including an expansion of WIC eligibility for new moms to two years post-partum and the streamlining of burdensome certification paperwork. 1,000 Days will continue to educate and engage lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on the importance of nutrition for moms and young children.

E&C hearing on bipartisan maternal health bills

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on four bills related to maternal health, including two that are supported by 1,000 Days:

  • Mothers and Offspring Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA’s) Act (R. 1897) led by Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL)
  • Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act (R. 1551) led by Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Steve Stivers (R-OH)

1,000 Days is encouraged by Congress’ ongoing attention on the need to improve maternal health care. We will continue to share the stories of moms in our community to highlight the importance of quality health care, and to encourage Congressional leaders to make the health and wellbeing of moms a national priority.

Congressional support for breastfeeding

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced resolutions supported by 1,000 Days, acknowledging the important health benefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies (H.Res.545 and S.Res.299). We were excited to see Members of Congress support breastfeeding families and we will keep lifting up the breastfeeding stories of moms in our community.


1,000 Days Announces Interim Executive Director

Contact: Blythe Thomas, blythe@thousanddays.org

Lucy Martinez-Sullivan leaves to run Feed the Truth

September 17, 2019 (WASHINGTON DC) – 1,000 Days’ Board of Directors announced today that Executive Director Lucy Martinez Sullivan is stepping down from her position to become the Executive Director at nonprofit Feed the Truth. The Board appointed Kathryn Stephens to serve as Interim Executive Director as it prepares for the search for a permanent replacement for Ms. Sullivan.

“I’m so proud of all that 1,000 Days has accomplished under Lucy’s leadership. She was the driving force behind the creation of 1,000 Days and grew the organization into a leading advocacy voice to ensure mothers and babies in the U.S. and across the globe have the nutrition they need to thrive. Thanks to Lucy and the team that she built, 1,000 Days is poised to deliver even greater impact and I look forward to the next phase in the organization’s growth,” said Board President and Chair Dr. Cindy Huang, who is also the vice president of strategic outreach at Refugees International.

Ms. Sullivan helped found 1,000 Days and was the organization’s first executive director. She also currently serves as the co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report, the world’s foremost publication on the state of nutrition. Prior to starting 1,000 Days, Ms. Sullivan worked in philanthropic consulting for CCS, where she led strategy engagements for clients such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the UN Foundation. She began her career in finance working for Merrill Lynch and later joined L’Oréal as marketing director for some of the company’s best-known global brands.

Ms. Stephens is a seasoned executive and business management professional with more than 20 years of non-profit management experience. In her role as an interim executive, she draws on her expertise in organizational development, business strategy, financial management, executive coaching, capacity building and systems development. In addition, Dr. Nicholas Alipui who serves on 1,000 Days’ Board and has decades of experience working on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable women and children at UNICEF will become even more engaged as an advisor on the organization’s global advocacy work.

“Having served as an Executive Director and in more than a dozen interim executive roles, Kathryn has a proven track record of success in managing leadership transitions for mission-driven organizations. The Board is confident that Kathryn can steward 1,000 Days so that it can continue to advance its ambitious policy and advocacy agenda on behalf of women and children everywhere,” added Dr. Huang.

About 1,000 Days

1,000 Days leads the fight to give mothers and babies in the U.S. and around the world the nutrition they need to thrive. We work with global leaders and grassroots communities of parents to make the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday a window of opportunity to build healthier, brighter futures. For more information, please visit www.ThousandDays.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

New Report Shows Paid Leave is a Public Health Imperative

This Labor Day, we take a day off work to honor and celebrate the contributions of workers in our country. But, today and every day, too many workers are unable to take time away from their jobs to care for themselves and their loved ones. In fact, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that does not guar­antee paid leave to new mothers and one of a handful of high-income countries that does not provide paid leave to new fathers. As a result, nearly 1 in 4 women return to work within just 2 weeks of giving birth, putting their health and well-being and that of their infant at risk.

In a new, first-of-its-kind report, 1,000 Days finds that paid leave is a public health imperative with the potential to transform the lives of moms and babies in the U.S. The report analyzed a wide-ranging body of research on family and medical leave and its impact on maternal health and child health and development. The evidence shows that paid leave can improve the health of moms and babies, save lives and enable children to get a strong start to life:

  • Paid leave during pregnancy leads to fewer medical complications for both mom and baby. This includes reduced risk of c-sections, reductions in low birthweight and preterm birth and reduced risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.
  • Paid leave has the potential to save babies’ lives. Researchers estimate that providing 12 weeks of paid leave in the U.S. would result in nearly 600 fewer infant deaths per year—a notable reduction in the face of about 22,000 infant deaths. Importantly, studies find a connection between paid leave and infant mortality, but unpaid leave has no effect.
  • Paid leave supports mothers to breastfeed and breastfeed longer, which improves the health of both mom and baby. A mother is more than twice as likely to stop breastfeeding in the month she returns to work compared to a mother who has not yet returned to work. This means too many babies miss out on breastfeeding’s protection against pneumonia, respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and too many mothers are at greater risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and heart disease—leading killers of women in the U.S.
  • Paid leave can help families give their children a thriving start at a time when they are most vulnerable. Research shows that paid leave can help parents cope with the financial stress and demands of caring for a new baby and can reduce the risk of a baby being abused or neglected.

The time has come for policymakers to enact a national paid leave policy that ensures all workers can take the time they need to attend to their health needs and care for their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. To best drive improvements to maternal health and child health and development, a paid leave policy must:

  • Provide workers with sufficient time off
  • Cover all employers and all workers
  • Ensure equitable economic security now and in the future
  • Cover medical and family caregiving needs comprehensively

Want to dig deeper? 1,000 Days’ new report, The First 1,000 Days: The Case for Paid Leave in America, is available now.

We also hope you’ll join us in taking the conversation beyond the data. We know that paid leave – or a lack thereof – affects the real lives of moms and babies and their families and communities all over the country. We’ll be sharing the journey of one new mom who, like too many others, returns to work just 2 weeks after giving birth. Check out #BackTooSoon to follow along — on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.