The nation's top early childhood development organization, which has received more than $230 million in federal funds since 2008, claims that children as young as two years old can show signs of "transgender identity" and encourages educators to "use tenets of Critical Race Theory" when they work with newborns.
The group, Zero to Three, promoted these controversial views during its virtual conference this month, which included educational sessions titled "What Does It Mean to Be Transgender and How Can You Support Kids Who Might Be?" and "Elevating Racial Equity in the First 1,000 Days: Protecting, Promoting, and Preserving the Health, Wealth, and Learning of Our Families and Babies."
"This [presentation] addresses the development of gender identity, including how early the process begins (ages 2–3), and how parents and professionals can distinguish gender exploration with the emergence of a transgender identity," reads one session description.
Zero to Three, which has 3,653 members who work in the field of early childhood development, has received $234.68 million in funds from the Department of Health and Human Services since 2008 and is slated to receive an additional $52 million by 2027, including a $4.2 million grant from the Biden administration set to begin this month. The group trained 89,222 professionals last year, according to its 2021 impact report.
HHS did not respond to a request for comment.
Public and private schools have adopted controversial left-wing curriculums on gender and race in recent years, but Zero to Three's advocacy on these issues represents one of the most high-profile attempts to promote these radical views in early childhood development. Parents often hire educators to assist in their child's development as they prepare for grade school—a process that requires child specialists to "consider the role of race and identity" and view gender as a "social construct" from the "prenatal period onwards," according to Zero to Three's training sessions.
While Zero to Three says it is nonpartisan, it boasts heavy ties to the Democratic Party. The nonprofit, which has spent $1.92 million on lobbying since 2018, exclusively supported Democratic-backed legislation last year, including President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan. The group is also backed by Democratic governor J. B. Pritzker's (Ill.) foundation, the Pritzker Children's Initiative, according to the group's financial disclosures.
John King, the former secretary of education for the Obama administration, delivered the keynote address for the September conference, in which he commented on the "critical need to address equity issues" in early childhood education.
"Because when you think about it, educational equity is educational justice for our babies who are the most underserved," King said.
Before King's speech, the conference hosted a "Virtual Drag Bingo" for its "happy hour entertainment."
Inspired by Monday's sessions, here's what's top-of-mind for Conference attendees! A focus on authentic relationships, continually learning and practicing with an anti-racist lens. #LEARNwithZTT pic.twitter.com/I3Ud9TWChk
— ZERO TO THREE (@ZEROTOTHREE) September 14, 2022
Zero to Three did not respond to a request for comment.
Zero to Three relies largely on government grants. The group's latest tax form shows it raised $38 million in 2019—$21 million of which came from the government. The Washington Free Beacon reported last year that liberal advocacy groups that fund radical sex education curriculums for grades as early as kindergarten, including the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States and Advocates for Youth, are also bankrolled by HHS.
Aside from HHS, Zero to Three received $1.95 million from the Department of Justice during the Obama administration. The Department of Defense, through the Army, had two contracts with the group for nearly $10,000. The CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meanwhile, sponsored the group's conference in 2021.
The Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and CDC did not respond to requests for comment.
Zero to Three will host another conference in December that is in person.
"Join us to discover strategies for connecting with families through brave conversations—from developmentally typical issues like challenging behaviors to more sensitive topics like racism, family violence, gender identity, or issues related to immigration," the conference description reads.