Louisiana mother rallies for national paid leave program

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WASHINGTON (GrayDC) Anna Akins is in Washington, D.C. urging Congress to put in place policies supporting paid family leave and affordable child care nationwide.

Anna Akins holds her two-year-old son Gareth at the Strolling Thunder event Tuesday in Washington, D.C. on the lawn in front of the Capitol building. (Source: Gray DC)

She is very frustrated the country does not have a national paid family leave program. She said she needed the early days to bond with her son Gareth. When she found out she was sick, she was forced to resign from her job and care for him.

Advocates at the Strolling Thunder event on the Capitol lawn said brains grow faster between zero and three-years-old than any other time in a person's life. Akins was part of the Strolling Thunder event on Tuesday.

“When families lose income, it has a direct impact on how they parent, on their emotional state," said Akins. "I didn't have the time I needed to figure out all of his health issues before returning to work."

Akins is a local advocate in Morehouse Parish in Louisiana with a program called Kids First Morehouse, supporting early childhood development.

'That means we're putting literacy within our community, we're going into homes and we're making sure parents know what their children need to grow and thrive."

Akins said she is back at work with a lower paying job with more flexibility while her father takes care of her son.

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