Dear Mayor Muriel Bower and the DC Council,
As your constituent, I ask that you ensure the District has strong foundations for families by supporting funding for the Birth-to-Three for All DC bill while not compromising funding for paid family medical leave by reopening and cutting back on the Universal Paid Family Leave program.
Paid family leave and high quality health and education services aren’t separate or interchangeable, but the building blocks that together ensure the health and success of all families. Research shows that:
- Women who take paid family leave are 47% less likely to need to re-hospitalize their infants and 51% less likely of being re-hospitalized themselves compared to women taking unpaid or no leave
- Infant mortality drops by up to 13% with paid leave and moms with paid leave are more likely to breastfeed exclusively and, as a result, more likely to benefit from increased investments in lactation services, such as those included in the Birth-to-Three for All legislation
- Evidence based home visiting has been shown to end multi-generational cycles of poverty and puts families on the path to good health, educational success, and economic self-sufficiency. What’s more, for every dollar invested in home visiting, as much as $5.70 is returned to the community
- Childcare providers are an important conduit to services that improve the health and wellbeing of children and families that last a lifetime
Taken together, these policies represent a comprehensive system of supports that strengthen families, communities, and our economy. Robbing families of critical supports not only goes back on a promise to families, but threatens the very foundation needed to build strong and healthy families. No one should have to choose between family, community, and healthcare supports for their young child.
DC has the opportunity to ensure all infants, babies, toddlers, and their families a strong start. We urge you to find new revenue to make these critical supports a reality because our families need and deserve the best possible chance to thrive. Let's not rob Peter to pay Paul by disinvesting from a program that would help both District families and businesses.