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Reps. DeLauro, Rehberg Launch Congressional Baby Caucus

July 15, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) launched the Congressional Baby Caucus at a briefing focused on the challenges faced by infants and toddlers in military families, highlighting how public policy can support their healthy development.

The Congressional Baby Caucus aims to ensure that public policy reflects the latest research in understanding how children’s brains are shaped and developed, how positive behaviors can be encouraged, and how investments in early childhood create success in later years, as well as that families are supported with what they need to take advantage of the scientific advances.

“Recent scientific studies on young children and their families have demonstrated that there is a disconnect between what we know is good for America’s children and families versus what we as a country do about it,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “For this reason, Congressman Rehberg and I founded the Congressional Baby Caucus, which will champion efforts to identify and promote policies that take advantage of these scientific studies in a thoughtful manner to ensure the affect of policies on infants and toddlers is not an after-thought. Our goal is to focus on the opportunities for Congress to use science to dramatically improve the public policy opportunities for children in this country.”

There are 332,771 children ages 0–3 of Active Duty members. The physical separation from a parent due to deployment can be a loss in itself. Trauma, grief and loss experienced by families of Service members who have been injured or killed, or are experiencing combat-related stress and/or illness, may further challenge the ability to maintain the healthy parental relationships which are essential to young children’s development.

“The first years of life are crucial for a child’s development,” said Congressman Rehberg. “The educational, nutritional and emotional nurturing that they receive during these years forms a foundation that will guide the course of their lives. It is crucial that policy makers accept our role in ensuring that every American child grows up in a safe and healthy environment with the resources they need to grow into strong, productive adults. I am proud to be a founding member and co-chairman of this caucus. I have enjoyed working with Rep. DeLauro on issues like Country of Origin Labeling, and look forward to partnering with her to develop bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing infants, toddlers, and their families.”

More than 30 bipartisan members of the Caucus will be champions for awareness and early investment – promoting that which is best for children, from the get-go, rather than have the effect of policies on infants and toddlers as afterthoughts. The Caucus will focus on a broad range of areas, including nutrition and basic needs for babies; the effects of trauma; federal programs: existing programs like Head Start and Child Care Development Block Grant – how well they are serving infants and toddlers.