COVID 19 has catapulted the racial and gender inequities associated with the lack of accessible and affordable child care and exposed a multi-pronged emergency —  massive temporary and permanent lay-offs for low-wage childcare workers (who tend to be Black, Brown and immigrant women); pending closures of family based child care businesses; and long-term economic consequences for women who must leave the workforce due to the loss of child care supports.  These consequences not only impact women’s economic health but also the longer-term financial health of their families.

Despite California’s new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and a new federal administration willing to fund bold and catalytic policies, such as those in the recently passed American Rescue Plan, questions remain such as:

  • How has the current child care crisis exacerbated the economic insecurity of families?
  • What gaps remain despite statewide and national plans to address the issue?
  • What are the most effective local, regional and national solutions; and
  • What critical role can philanthropy play in supporting short term needs while keeping the longer-term policy solutions in mind?

We must understand that child care is not a personal issue, nor a women’s issue but an economic issue that must be addressed to realize a more equitable and inclusive society.

On March 24th we heard perspectives from national and local policy advocates, practitioners and philanthropy about the interrelated issues surrounding the child care sector and how funders can play a role in addressing the structural and systemic issues which have impacted this critical sector.


Lea Austin, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment
Mary Ignatius, Statewide Organizer, Parent Voices
Natalie Renew, Director, Home Grown
Christine Thorsteinson, Director, Early Childhood Development, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Hayley Wise, A Wise Choice Daycare/Preschool