WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Early education advocates from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to invest in U.S. education and provide humanitarian support for the world’s children. West Virginia resident Brittany Smith said the youngest victims of the opioid crisis need help.
“Our children suffer a lot and often go unnoticed,” said Smith.
Smith said drug abuse is one of several issues hurting young people. The organization “Save The Children” brought advocates to Washington D.C. to urge congress to provide relief.
“The more kids we can get enrolled in early childhood education the more children we can protect and our kids in West Virginia deserve that”
Natalia Mayes lives in South Carolina and traveled to the nation’s capital to be a voice for young people. Mayes said access to affordable childcare is a major problem in South Carolina and it’s putting children’s lives at risk.
“We have such a high rate of childcare deserts and the quality of care, the affordability of care and the safety is just not there.”
Experts said the first five years of a child’s life are the most important. Advocates want lawmakers to focus on early education as they hash out a budget deal.
Mark Shriver, president of “Save The Children Action Network,” wants federal dollars to go towards helping with challenges young kids face.
“Politicians can tell you kids are our most important resource,” Shriver said. “But if they don’t put their money where their mouth is then they are not being true.”
The Trump administration is calling for across the board cuts, which include the Education Department. Opponents hope voicing their concerns help save funding for children’s programs.