President Biden’s American Families Plan is expected to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in childcare, paid leave, and education.
Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D., is a senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women who has spent 30 years studying child care policy. Most recently, she completed a report for the city of Boston called Too Much and Not Enough: Family Stresses and Child Care Preferences in Boston During COVID-19.
Robeson is available to comment on the potential effects of the plan and whether it meets the needs of working parents and families.
“Child care is not a women’s issue; it is a public good that is inseparable from the economy as a whole. We cannot achieve gender equality or economic recovery until our child care system is rebuilt from the ground up.”
“A national policy needs to ensure access to quality care, with national standards for group size, ratios of children to staff, health and safety, and workforce qualifications. It must align higher education with the core competencies for child care professionals, and provide ongoing professional development, including coaching. Just any child care is not enough: High-quality child care has been shown to make a huge difference in children’s lives for years to come by preparing children to do well both academically and socially.”
“A national policy must address challenges faced by the early childhood care and education workforce, with the goal of raising wages, maintaining diversity, and reducing turnover. This workforce—the vast majority of whom are women, often women of color—needs wages worthy of the essential role they play, with pay comparable to that of public school teachers.”