April 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Prioritize Head Start and Child Care in the 2012 Budget

Updated July 19, 2011

Engage: Head Start, Early Head Start and child care services are the kind of smart investments we should prioritize in a time of deficits because they enable low-income parents to access reliable child care while they work and provide at-risk children with the early learning experiences they need for success in school and life.

Problem: Yet Head Start only serves half of eligible preschoolers, Early Head Start only 5 percent of eligible infants and toddlers, and child care subsidies only reach one out of seven low-income working families.

Inform: Early childhood services like Head Start and child care work. They not only benefit participating children and their families, but also society as a whole through:

  • reduced need for special education and remediation
  • better health outcomes
  • reduced need for social services
  • lower criminal justice costs
  • and increased self-sufficiency and productivity among families.

Despite this return on investment, House leaders have directed the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcomittee (which funds Head Start and child care) to cut its budget by 15 percent. This could have devastating effects on tens of thousands of families nationwide.

Call to Action: We need Congress to protect at-risk children and working families. Will you please speak with the House and Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee members and urge them to support an increase of $1.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2012? These levels will sustain effective, high-quality services for at-risk, low-income children and their families across the nation.

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk and see our Early Childhood Development: Smart Investments in the Early Years campaign pages for more background on these issues.