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Q&A With Grantee MomsRising: What President Biden’s Executive Order Means for Child Care

Young children gather at a table outside with teacher.

In April 2023, the Biden administration signed a historic Care Executive Order to expand access to affordable, high-quality care, and provide support for care workers and family caregivers. Notable provisions include directives to federal agencies to increase compensation for the early childhood workforce, increase subsidy reimbursement rates, strengthen benefits, and reduce family costs. It also builds in flexibility for federal agencies to innovate to improve access to childcare. 

Several of the grantees supported by the Foundation’s Education program — specifically, its national advocacy grantmaking portfolio — have worked for years to support federal agencies in deploying the levers of government to improve access to high-quality care programs. One of those key grantees is MomsRising, a national nonpartisan organization building a grassroots movement of mothers who advocate on policy issues affecting families.

Below is a Q&A with Donna Norton, a founding member of MomsRising and its Executive Vice-President and Chief Advancement & Strategy Officer, who shares more about how this Executive Order will impact care workers and family caregivers. 

  • The White House recently signed a historic Care Executive Order to expand access to affordable, high-quality care, and provide support for care workers and family caregivers. Could you break down what this Care Executive Order does and what it means?

The Biden/Harris administration’s Executive Order on care is a historic win for families, caregivers, communities and our economy, and it is badly needed in this time when millions of families are struggling without the caregiving infrastructure every society needs. The Executive Order puts the full weight of our federal government behind solutions to the care crisis by directing federal agencies to take action to improve our nation’s care infrastructure. For example, building upon prior success of requiring companies that apply for federal grants under the CHIPS Act (the semiconductor legislation) to have a plan for providing child care to their employees, the EO directs agencies to look at the provision of child care and long-term care as supportive services to workers who are being trained for and working on federally funded projects.

These kinds of regulations will lower the cost of care for families, raise wages, and provide essential benefits to care workers, and ensure high-quality child care, elder care and disability care are available and accessible to all.

  • How will this new set of investments affect working families and children in this country?

At MomsRising, we often hear from members who have been pushed out of the workforce and into hardship or poverty because they couldn’t access child care for their kids or elder care for their aging parents. Some are care workers who can’t care for their own families because they’re not paid a living wage or provided reasonable benefits like health insurance. Some are both — like our member Mansie in New York who was forced out of her job as a home health aide because she couldn’t access child care for her two young kids. Other members tell us they finally found child care, elder care or disability care but the cost is prohibitive. The Executive Order addresses these issues head-on, which is essential to making it possible for kids, families and our economy to thrive.

  • This order followed months of advocacy by MomsRising and others to inspire action. How will MomsRising now support implementation of these investments to ensure they benefit those that need it most? What are some of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead?

The Executive Order is a huge step forward, made possible by the tireless work of thousands of MomsRising members and our partners. In order for the Executive Order to yield big changes, we need to keep the pressure on to ensure that the federal agencies are funded and supported in implementation. To that end, advocates will need to continue to press federal agencies for more detailed plans and investments, as we can’t build the care infrastructure our nation so badly needs without additional investments from Congress. We’re calling on Congress to follow President Biden’s lead and build on this historic momentum by passing paid family and medical leave for all, making comprehensive investments in child care, elder care and disability care, creating a path to citizenship for immigrants, many of whom are care workers, and raising the minimum wage. We will continue raising our voices until that happens. 

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