March 2012 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Prioritize Head Start and Child Care in the 2013 Budget

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 serves less than half of eligible preschoolers, Early Head Start only 3 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, these programs could face serious cuts in the years ahead.

Call to Action: We need Congress to protect at-risk children and working families. Will you please speak with the House/Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee members and urge them to support an increase of $825 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and $325 million for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2013? 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.