November 16, 2016

Dear DEC Members,

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States and in January the 115th Congress will convene. The recent election also brings many new officials to state and local government. These changes offer a renewed opportunity to articulate our values and who we are as a profession.

As professionals who work on behalf of young children (0-8) with disabilities and other special needs and their families, we have the responsibility to speak out alongside and on behalf of these families. We must send the message that DEC, as an organization, is committed to promoting policies that support young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. 

As such, the DEC Executive Office and Board invite each of you to meet with, call, or send a letter to your local and state officials as well as your Congressional representatives. We must continue to advocate for increased funding at all levels with renewed focus on IDEA and support for high-quality inclusive early childhood programs and authentic family engagement. Resources for how to connect with representatives can be found at  http://www.decpolicy.org/. Inclusion of all children, all families is the foundation of all of our shared work. 

Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential.  DEC Inclusion Position Statement (2009)

This is also a time to commit to inclusion not just for those we serve but for those we serve alongside. DEC will continue to advocate for socially just policies and practices for families and early childhood special education professionals, from diverse identities, backgrounds, lifestyles, values, and beliefs. Together, we must challenge injustice in any form.

Thank you for recommitting to our ideals and making the time to reach out to your elected officials. Together, we will continue to make a difference for young children and their families and for one another. 

Respectfully Yours, 

DEC Executive Office

DEC Executive Board

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - MLK