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May 04 , 2008

For Our Babies

Ending the Invisible Neglect of America's Infants


For the last forty years, J. Ronald Lally has worked with state and federal agencies to improve services for infants and toddlers in the United States and abroad. In this new book, Lally paints a stark picture of how our babies have been forced to shoulder the fallout of massive societal changes over the past 60 years—changes that have resulted in less access to their parents, longer time spent in child care, and substandard child care and services.

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For Our Babies features the resonant voices of American parents speaking of their hopes, worries, and frustrations living in a country with too few parental and child supports. It describes American parents’ general lack of awareness about how little they receive from their state and federal governments compared to parents living in other countries. This important book includes crucial testimony from developmental psychologists, child care providers, health and mental health professionals, economists, specialists in brain development, and early learning educators about how policy and practices must change in the United States if parents are to raise children who will become healthy, productive members of society.

This book is part of the For Our Babies initiative. Visit the website, which includes an author blog, at

J. Ronald Lally is the co-director of the Center for Child and Family Studies at WestEd, an educational research and development laboratory in San Francisco. He created the Program for Infant and Toddler Care and is one of the founders of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.

“Lally is right. Our economy and our society will be stronger if public policies do more to help raise healthy babies. I applaud his tireless efforts to increase national awareness about the critical importance of improving early childhood development for all families.”
U.S. Congressman George Miller (D-CA-11)

“Dr. Lally’s book sensitively captures the tension in knowing that infants at birth are both full of unlimited developmental potential and at the same time desperately dependent on their surroundings. And, thankfully, it is filled with ways to act on his informed and urgent plea for action to change policy and practice.”
Carol Brunson Day, President, Brunson Phillips & Day, Inc.

“Professor Lally draws on a lifetime of working with infants to review and synthesize the research about the importance of the first 3 years of life, and what babies need—especially from their relationships with parents and caregivers—to thrive developmentally and socially. He then paints a disturbing picture of how present policies are failing young children—the invisible neglect. This book is a ‘must read’ for all who care about young children and their future.”
Frank Oberklaid, Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

“This is a clarion and moving call on behalf of our most vulnerable and valuable citizens, our amazing babies. It gathers together the freshest and broadest knowledge of what they need to flourish and contrasts this to the myriad ways our policies and practices consistently fail them. For Our Babies is an energizing, enlightening, and wholly loving book.”
Jeree Pawl, Clinical Pyschologist, Board of Directors, Zero to Three 

“Lally and others, including some of the economists cited in this book, have shown how investments in quality early education and preventive healthcare will more than pay for themselves when children reach adulthood. . . . This book is a starting place for urgently needed dialogue that will finally lead to action.”
—From the Foreword by T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua Sparrow, Harvard University

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