WHO WE ARE
J. Ronald Lally
J. Ronald Lally, Ed.D. is Co-director of WestEd Center for Child & Family Studies located in Sausalito, California. An expert on early development, Dr. Lally has been a director of the work of WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) since 1985. Dr. Lally, is one of the founders and a board member of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. For the last forty years, working with state and federal governments, he has charted the direction of services for infants and toddlers in the United States and abroad. Dr. Lally is also a father and grandfather. Frustrated by US policies that fall short of what babies need, he has launched the For Our Babies Campaign to raise public awareness and garner support for a better beginning for babies in the United States.
Forty-six years ago, when I started working with infants and toddlers, I never thought that I would feel my current level of desperation about the plight of our babies. Not in the United States of America. But it seems that in spite of all our rhetoric that “children are our most important resource,” the needs of our babies are being ignored to the point of unforgivable neglect.
Our babies have shouldered the fallout from 50 years of massive social change with little help from the larger society.
They have paid the price for changes in gender equity, the work patterns of their families, where they spend their days, and availability of extended family. Across the United States, families expecting a baby and families with young babies are stressed and worried. They are frantic in their efforts to nurture their babies while still in the womb, to find ways to stay home with their newborns, and to both locate and pay for an adequate quality of childcare.
Yet, during my lifetime, US has consistently backed away from taking the steps needed to ensure that our infants and toddlers are helped down this relatively new and uncharted path. Recent scientific discoveries reveal just how vulnerable babies are to early experience, and how much they need our help from conception to age 3. Now we must act on that information.
I call on you to join us to make things better for babies. At the age of seventy two I don’t have many more years left to get people in the US to see that, without having consciously chosen to do so, our policies have allowed this neglect to happen. With the launch of this blog site and the For Our Babies social action campaign, we will shine a spotlight on the shocking but often-invisible neglect of American babies.
In this blog you will hear from families in the US about what raising their babies under current conditions is like for them. You will hear from those providing services to pregnant women, from nurses visiting homes and infant care providers, about the policies and practices they labor under and of their serious concerns for the babies in their care. You will hear from experts, from both the US and abroad, about the types of treatments infants and toddlers are receiving in the US as compared to what babies receive in other countries. These experts are concerned, even exasperated, about what they see the children are getting here.
You will hear recommendations for specific actions to remedy uniquely US conditions that place babies in jeopardy. We’ll invite you to share with others your own strategies and solutions for these conditions.
Come back and stand with us as we stand up FOR OUR BABIES.