I was excited to see in the news a discussion about the importance of investing in early childhood. The first years of life are the most critical for children's brain development. I found this out firsthand. My daughter had very few words from 0 to 3, and without the help of early childhood programs her speech may not be where it is today.

That is why I was pleased that Congress voted earlier this year to double funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG helps low- and middle-income families afford child care. We must call on Congress to continue these effective investments and ensure CCDBG receives this historic level of funding again in FY19.

We are already seeing the positive impact of these funds here in Iowa.

Iowa will use the funds to increase reimbursement rates for providers caring for infants and toddlers, which will raise the overall quality of care given. These changes aim to improve both access to and quality of care during these important years.

When we invest in the early years of children’s lives, particularly those living in poverty, we are setting them up for success in the future. - Michelle Eyer, Sioux City

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