Today, more than one fifth of all babies in the U.S. live in poverty and close
to a half live in low-income families, which means that too many start to
fall behind before their first birthday. Adversities—such as hunger, abuse and
neglect, or environmental chaos and violence—can pervade these babies’ lives,
creating chronic, unrelenting stress that undermines development. Short of ridding
these factors from their lives entirely, ensuring they can experience nurturing,
loving relationships will buffer them from long-term negative effects.