WESTPORT, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just two weeks ago, President Obama pledged that as a nation we need to “come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.” It is a travesty that, unless Congress and the President can reach an agreement, we are only hours away from nearly $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board funding cuts, halting crucial efforts to protect and provide for children in the United States and around the world.
We urge our leaders to do what we teach the preschoolers in Save the Children’s programs every day: play nice, get along and work it out. Time is running out for Congress and the President to set aside politics and do what it takes to ensure that the most vulnerable among us, our children, are not the ones who pay the price of the looming budget cuts.
Children’s programs make up a fraction of the budget, but cutting them will have a negative impact on entire lives and futures. Without an agreement by our country’s leaders, children around the world and right here in America will face the following risks:
Around the world:1
• More than 1 million children will go without preventative treatment from life-threatening diseases like pneumonia.
• More than 350,000 orphaned and vulnerable children will miss out on getting the boost they need through good nutrition, schooling and economic opportunities.
• 111,000 fewer HIV-positive pregnant women will receive Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission services, leading to more than 21,000 babies being infected with HIV.
• More than 2,700 schools will lose critical federal funds, affecting nearly 1.2 million students in need.
• 70,000 young children will lose access to early learning services, and over 10,000 teachers could lose their jobs.
• Up to 30,000 children will lose access to child care.
• Roughly 600,000 mothers and children will be dropped from the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) feeding program through the end of September 2013, threatening their health and nutrition.
At Save the Children, we know first-hand the difference that investments in early learning programs can make in helping children get ready for and succeed in school. We have also made tremendous progress in reducing the number of young children dying from treatable and preventable causes and are dedicated to making the promise of an AIDS-free generation a reality. Save the Children has long advocated for more resources and investments in such programs.
At a time when nearly one in four children in America lives in poverty, and vulnerable girls and boys around the world face disease, hunger and unspeakable violence, making deep and disproportionate cuts to child-focused programs is unconscionable. It is true that difficult choices must be made to reduce our deficit, but our leaders must not balance the budget on the backs of children.
Sign our petition to urge Congress to oppose funding cuts that threaten to harm children’s futures: www.savethechildren.org/fiscal-cliff-news.
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in more than 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
1 Source for global statistics: http://www.amfar.org/uploadedFiles/_amfarorg/In_The_Community/SequestrationJuly2012.pdf, pages 2 and 3
2 Source for U.S. statistics: White House data published on WashingtonPost.com.