Early Childhood

Former Lawmakers Set Aside Policy Differences for Early-Childhood Initiative

By Christina A. Samuels — October 27, 2017 1 min read
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Proving that leaving Congress sometimes makes it easier to find bipartisan accord, former Democratic Rep. George Miller, of California, and former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, have come together to back a dozen child-related policies they say can be supported on both sides of the aisle.

Among the policy recommendations:

  • Increase the value of, and access to, the federal Child Care Tax Credit.

  • Reauthorize the federally-funded home-visiting program. (Funding for that program expired at the end of September.)

  • Create a competitive-grant program to encourage states to design state-level tax programs that increase access to high-quality early-childhood programs.

  • Encourage states to establish minimum levels of training and competencies for their child-care workforce and to improve professional development systems for the child-care workforce in ways that have been shown to impact child outcomes.

The full report offers more recommendations and rationales on why these particular recommendations should be adopted quickly.

Santorum and Miller co-chaired a panel convened by the Bipartisan Policy Center to explore how the federal government can support young people. The two released their report on Oct. 26.

During an event held to mark the release, Santorum said he and Miller shared a concern about the welfare of young children and “tried to figure out a way, in a town that is not working particularly well, whether we could come up with some things that could provide some sort of light to this area.”

Focusing on children from birth to age 5 is essential, Miller said. “The chances of success are dramatically different than when you don’t pay attention to it,” MIller said. “You don’t get to make it up in remedial education at the community college ... you can’t catch up later.”

A video of the policy release and discussion is below.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.