The pandemic has laid bare the devastating economic and personal costs of our country’s failure to adopt a care infrastructure. For too long, we have left families to shoulder the burden of caregiving and working, taking double and triple shifts, without common-sense protections like universal paid leave, high quality, affordable child care, and home- and community-based services.
This brief lays out how care impacts economic recovery, family economic security and asset building, equity and justice, and the well-being of children, older adults, and people with disabilities.
It highlights the policies needed around child care and early education, paid leave, long-term services and supports (LTSS), and related issues and the ways philanthropy can engage to support the organizations and coalitions working to build the healthy care economy America needs.
Care is an
Economic Recovery Issue
Investing in care infrastructure will yield millions of jobs in the care sector and support the employment of caregivers, including parents. These elements are crucial for economic recovery.
Care is a
Family Economic Security and Asset-building Issue
Paying for care, providing care to family members, and working in the care sector all have detrimental impacts on family economic security and the ability to build wealth.
Care is an
Equity and Justice Issue
The lack of a public care infrastructure and the undervaluing of care work contribute to significant gender and racial inequities.
Care is a
Children’s, Aging, and Disability Issue
Breaking down care silos and supporting care across generations yields benefits for children, older adults, and people with disabilities and addresses ageism and ableism.
Key Policies and Programs
TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC INEQUITIES
ARISING FROM CARE ECONOMY ISSUES
Building a robust care infrastructure—a publicly funded system that recognizes care as both an individual and social responsibility, values care workers, and supports family members to both care and provide financially for each other— will support economic recovery, growth, and prosperity and support racial and gender equity and family well-being.
On the federal, state, and local level, policy makers can take a number of steps to achieve these goals.
Child Care and Early Learning for All
Paid Leave for All
Long-term Services and Support
Public Policies Must Value the People Who Care
In addition to the framework described above, a number of related policy ideas, as well as principles and programmatic solutions, can ensure fair access to and usage of the care infrastructure. For example, policies should be portable across jobs and employers; families should have to only go through one door to access multiple supports; technology should be deployed to foster efficiency without harming access; and culturally sensitive coaches or navigators can help families understand what they are eligible for and gain access to that support.
Strategies for Philanthropy
FUND POLICY ADVOCACY THROUGH NATIONAL CARE COLLABORATIONS
FUND STATE AND LOCAL INITIATIVES
FUND POLICY IMPLEMENTATION AND DIRECT SERVICES
FUND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING
FUND CULTURE CHANGE STRATEGIES
Investing in Caregivers: An Essential Resource for Our Nation: This issue brief by RRF Foundation for Aging provides an overview of the key issues around caregiver support, describes some of the work the foundation is funding to address these issues, and invites others to join them in developing the next generation of solutions to address this increasingly important issue.
Scheduling practices fueling worker turnover, hurting employers: The attention on normally low-profile and often low-pay professions has exposed problems for service sector workers that aren’t new – just newly visible. Among them: lousy work schedules. Those schedules were the focus of an issue brief released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, “Unstable, unpredictable, and insufficient: Work scheduling in the service sector in New England.”