Blog | May 4, 2021

Our Zero-to-Five Priorities

Council for a Strong America is dedicated to ensuring kids across the country have every opportunity to succeed

The mission of Council for a Strong America is to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, family income, or ZIP code, can grow up to be successful in this country.

Why? Not only because it’s a moral imperative, but also because, to get the workforce our country will need, to preserve and strengthen our national security, and to enhance public safety in communities around the nation, everyone must be a part of that solution. By definition, achieving those goals will require that all children have equitable access to what they need to grow up healthy, well-educated, and prepared to live full and successful lives.

That process begins by starting as early as possible. We know that the first few years of life represent an irreplaceable period of brain development. That’s why supporting policies that focus on our youngest learners is essential.

To achieve the goal of strengthening our nation by preparing the next generation to succeed, Council for a Strong America supports an array of solutions that focus on our youngest Americans. These solutions focus on children ages 0 to 5, during that pivotal developmental phase of a young person’s life. These areas include:

Voluntary home visiting for at-risk parents, pairing them with a home-visiting professional, such a nurse, to give them guidance and to provide support as they navigate the potential challenges of parenthood. These programs help to promote healthier children by preventing child abuse and neglect and contributing to other positive outcomes.

Affordable, quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers. High-quality child care promotes cognitive, social, and emotional development in children, laying a foundation for future educational and life success. It also supports today’s workforce by giving working parents the peace of mind they need, secure in the knowledge that the most important people in their lives are in safe, caring environments while parents are at work. The current lack of affordable, high-quality child care for infants and toddlers deals enormous economic damage, costing the American economy $57 billion every year due to lost productivity, revenue, and earnings. Working parents need supports that can help them afford quality child care, including expanded tax credits to subsidize care-related costs.

High-quality early childhood education for children ages 3 and 4. High-quality pre-K can be vitally important in making sure young children are “kindergarten-ready.” By imparting early math, early reading, and social-emotional skills, high-quality ECE helps kids start elementary school on equitable footing with their peers, and sets the stage for a more successful academic career.

A strong early childhood workforce for preschool and child care. Training, ongoing professional development opportunities, and a living wage and benefits for early childhood workers, nearly all of whom are women (and, disproportionately, women of color) can greatly increase both the availability of and quality of early childhood services.

Reducing child poverty and addressing the needs of families in poverty. Provisions within the federal tax code that ease the tax burden on parents and allow them to have more flexibility when paying for child care, as well as other programs, such as TANF, help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. These financial tools provide low-income families with the resources they need to help their children thrive.

Support the health and nutritional needs of young people. We support a broad vision around childhood nutrition that will help ensure the next generation can enjoy lifelong health. We advocate for programs and policies that promote nutrition security, thereby combating malnutrition, including malnutrition manifesting as obesity. These supports help prevent obesity, promote nutrition security, and foster healthy development in infants and children.

These areas of focus are rooted in CSA’s foundational commitment to supporting our youngest children and their families. Fulfilling these priorities in a comprehensive and equitable way will allow young children and their families to have better and more meaningful access to the pathways toward a successful future.

At Council for a Strong America, our goal is to strengthen our nation by advocating for the enactment of evidence-based policies that reflect their power to better the lives of all children and youth in America in enduring ways.


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