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Caregiving On and Off the Clock: Equity Issues Faced by Care Workers with Dependents

April 13, 2020

Care work is essential to meet the basic needs and wellbeing of any society. However, the U.S. faces a burgeoning care crisis. In the coming years, aging Baby Boomers will require an unprecedented amount of paid elder care services. Meanwhile, the current unmet paid child care needs remain high On the supply side, our research shows that gender and racial/ethnic inequities are built into the looming care crisis: 9 in 10 low-wage care workers are women and almost half are racial/ethnic minority groups.While there is clearly a high demand for care workers, little research examines how paid care workers afford and manage their own caregiving needs. Given that paid care workers with children and elderly dependents care around the clock—at work and at home—it is important to understand if they have enough of their own care supports to meet these needs. These questions are especially pressing during the current public health crisis, as care workers are called upon to care for the most vulnerable members of society and the importance of care work is more visible than ever. Paid care workers' ability to care for their own families even while they continue to care for ours is critical to our ability to weather the COVID-19 storm and be ready to care for our aging population.In this analysis, our sample of care workers includes a range of well-paid to poorly paid jobs including physicians, physical therapists, Certified Nursing Assistants and personal and home care aides.3 We consider care needs for children under 13 (e.g., child care centers, family child care), adult parents (e.g., at home, in a day program) or both, by race/ethnicity and work and family composition.

Unequal Access to FMLA Leave Persists

January 16, 2020

Family and medical leave (FML) plays a vital role in helping workers balance their personal and family health needs. FML allows employees to take time off of work to address their own or a family member's serious health condition or to bond after the birth or adoption of a child. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is federal legislation guaranteeing job-protected unpaid leave to certain eligible workers to care for themselves or an immediate family member in times of illness, birth or adoption. However, access to the FMLA is limited by both eligibility and affordability, both of which are unequal across different racial/ethnic groups.

What Does "Economically Secure" Children Really Mean? Federal Statistics Monitoring Children’s Economic Security Need an Overhaul

January 16, 2020

Federal agencies monitor child and family wellbeing and consider children living with at least one adult working full time, year round as economically secure. However, an economically secure environment for children depends on much more than the number of hours their parents work. Economic security also requires wages that are high enough for children and families to live healthy lives.A more meaningful definition of economic security for children considers whether full-time working adults earn enough income to meet minimum living standards for children. defines economically secure children as those living with at least one adult working full time, year round only if family incomes are over 200% of the federal poverty level. For example, to be considered economically secure, children living with at least one full-time working adult in a family of four in 2019 need to have a family income over $51,500.

The Family and Medical Leave Act Policy Equity Assessment

January 1, 2020

In this Policy Equity Assessment, we assess the capacity of the FMLA to address racial/ethnic equity and whether the FMLA impacts economic and health outcomes and reduces disparities for U.S. workers. Significantly, some of the populations who are least likely to have access to FMLA leave are also more vulnerable to certain health conditions, which means that they may be the most in need of, but the least likely to access, worker benefits that can help address health issues. We particularly emphasize the impact of the FMLA for working parents, given research showing that when a parent is present to provide care, children recover faster from illnesses and injuries, have shorter hospital stays and are more likely to receive preventive care.

Data-for-Equity Research Brief: Unequal Availability of Head Start, How Neighborhood Matters

January 1, 2020

Research shows that over half of the children in the United States who are eligible for Head Start are not served by the program. There are important differences in Head Start participation by race/ethnicity: nationally, only 54% of eligible black children and only 38% of Hispanic/Latino eligible children are served by Head Start preschool. This brief explores how residential segregation may translate into inequitable access to Head Start programs at the neighborhood level for two time periods. National and state level patterns are discussed.

Subsidized Child Care in Massachusetts: Exploring Geography, Access, and Equity

December 1, 2018

Affordable child care is a crucial support for working parents, and the early educational experiences thatoccur in child care and preschool settings are equally crucial for children's development. In 2014, theChild Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which funds the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF)1--the largest federal source of funding assistance for low-income working parents to secure affordable,quality child care--was reauthorized. With reauthorization came new provisions requiring states to worktowards more equal access to care and increased supply of high quality, affordable care. Motivated bythese provisions, policymakers and researchers are paying increasing attention to issues related to childcare access and supply, and are in pressing need of research, conceptual frameworks, measurementstrategies, data sources, and technologies to better understand, measure, monitor, and address issues ofincreased and equal access to quality, affordable care

Data-for-Equity Research Brief: Child Care Affordability for Working Parents

November 1, 2018

Recent studies have highlighted that child care is unaffordable for many U.S. families. This research brief goes deeper to understand child care affordability for parents with full-time, year-round jobs. These parents have a clear need for child care given their full-time work status. This brief estimates whether, within the group of full-time, year-round working parents who have children age 13 and under, particular income and racial/ethnic subgroups are more likely to face unaffordable center-based child care costs.