Over the last year, we have witnessed unprecedented threats to the very programs and policies that are critical to the health and well-being of women and children across America – and as we jump into 2018, the threats are not abating. Medicaid – which insures 25 million women and covers the cost of nearly half of all births in the U.S. – is being undermined by policy proposals at the state and federal levels that could dramatically increase the number of uninsured. And many in Congress seem committed to cut federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, which provide essential food and nutrition supports to our county’s youngest children and their families.
Here at 1,000 Days we believe that now is not the time to pull back, but rather to double down and push ourselves to do more to support the health and well-being of young children and their families. To that end, in the year ahead, we plan to focus on the following areas:
- Food Policy – ensuring that mothers and children have the nutrition they need to thrive; this means standing strong against the threats to SNAP and WIC—programs that are critical lifelines to so many of our country’s babies and toddlers—and focusing on the next set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans which should include for the first time evidence-based and unbiased guidelines for pregnant women and children under two.
- Health Policy – ensuring young children and their families have guaranteed access to affordable health insurance that offers comprehensive benefits for maternal, infant and young child health services, with a specific focus on Medicaid/CHIP and essential health benefits.
- Family Supports Policy – ensuring parents have the support they need to give their children the strongest start to life, in particular through paid family leave among other workplace and community supports.
Across all of our work, 1,000 Days will be focused not only on protecting and strengthening critical policies and programs that support the well-being of moms, babies and toddlers, but also on “visioning better”—creating conversations and generating ideas for how we can create a vision for a society that truly values and invests in babies, toddlers and their mothers.
We look forward to working closely with policymakers and partners, as well as parents to ensure all children have the strongest start to life and the opportunity to reach their full potential.