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How can U.S. improve child care? PolicyLab has some suggestions



Rebecka Rosenquist

Increasing support for caregivers through subsidies and public policy changes would be broadly beneficial, according to the PolicyLab research center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

In a blog post titled "A Caregiving Agenda Is Long Overdue," Health Policy Director Rebecka Rosenquist notes that November is National Family Caregivers Month and calls for enacting paid family and medical leave, increasing child care subsidies and making the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent.

Offsetting the financial and emotional impacts of caregiving will not only improve caregivers' lives, but the lives of those around them, Rosenquist writes, and will also advance racial, gender and economic equity.

In a related "issue brief" on child care, PolicyLab calls for a range of reforms, including regular work hours and a living wage for families and child care workers; increased support and technical assistance for child care providers; reduced administrative burdens; and "navigation" support for parents seeking to evaluate child care options and make appropriate choices.

Join the conversation

Child care and its role in enabling greater workforce participation will be a major topic of Friday's "Conversation About OUR Community," sponsored by the United Way of Lancaster County. It will take place on Zoom from 9 to 10:30 a.m. To register, click here.

The Biden administration's support for caregiving is "very welcome," Rosenquist writes, adding, "While far from perfect, including the potential absence of paid family and medical leave, the Build Back Better Act is likely to make big investments in caregiving and caregivers."

Currently pegged at $1.75 trillion dollars, the Build Back Better Act is the companion bill to the infrastructure bill passed last week. Major spending categories in the latest revision include family benefits, climate, infrastructure and health care. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a vote on Build Back Better next week.