Caregiving Takes Center Stage As National Issue

MEDIA RELEASE: For distribution September 28, 2016

Nation's Leading Voices On Care Position Caregiving As Major Social, Economic Issue For the U.S.

Washington, DC — On the heels of the first presidential debate, where childcare was mentioned within the first two minutes and then dropped as a topic, caregiving this morning took center stage as the issue that will drive our country’s future job growth, our economy, and what will need to be front and center in revamping our country’s social safety net.

Representatives of both presidential campaigns joined Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a national movement to transform the way we care, Anne Marie Slaughter of New America, and Sheila Marcelo, CEO of Care.com, at Care In America, a discussion on childcare and caregiving for families. It also marked the launch of the Care Index, a first-of-its-kind series of insights into the cost, quality, and availability of child care in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, released by New America and Care.com.

“We need to think of improving the care system as an investment in infrastructure,” said Ai-jen Poo. “The work we do to care for our families makes all other work possible. Investing in infrastructure that allows working families access to 21st-century quality care would carry a significant price tag, but would also be a down payment on a better future with greater efficiencies and savings down the road. It is necessary as part of the stronger social safety net we need at every age.”

Moderated by Jonathan Cohn of the Huffington Post, Care In America featured two segments. The first, “Child Care in an Election Year: Proposals from the Presidential Campaigns,” featured Katie Hamm with the Center for American Progress, speaking for the Clinton campaign; and Dan Kowalski, Deputy National Policy Director for the Trump campaign. Both campaign representatives spoke about how their proposals on child care would enable American parents and families to obtain the affordable care they need for their children.

The Expert Panel members, our nation’s leading voices on care and caregiving policy, were:

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America

  • Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO, Care.com

  • Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Co-Director, Caring Across Generations

  • Erik Peterson, Partner & Global Business Policy Council Managing Director, A. T. Kearney

  • Lynette Fraga, Executive Director, Child Care Aware of America

The discussion on care also encompassed other social issues like immigration, worker justice and the future of work being driven by the growth of the gig economy.

On immigration, Ms. Poo said, “With so many care workers and nannies being undocumented immigrants, and the growing need for care requiring millions of new jobs, immigration reform is a huge part of the care infrastructure solution. The workforce we’re relying on to take care of our children can’t even take care of their own families on the wages they are earning, and in some cases live in fear of deportation. It’s not a sustainable system, and the changes we need to make it sustainable will impact all of us.”