Joan Lombardi

Recent Articles

Starting Right: What We Owe Children Under Three

In the mid-1990s, newsstands across the country brimmed with magazines touting new research on brain development, and the science of early-childhood development was championed from the East Room to the hearing room, from the boardroom to the living room. Yet almost a decade later, there is still a significant gap between what we know about the earliest years of life and the public policies that support families with infants and toddlers in the United States. Why the gap? There is no simple answer; rather a combination of factors has left this country without a coherent family policy -- and lagging far behind virtually all other advanced nations when it comes to support for families with children under age 3. Perhaps the strongest influence has been the cultural tradition that considers the care of very young children the sole responsibility of their parents. Any attempts to develop policies that are perceived as interfering with this responsibility have been taboo. Even a policy to...