Today President Biden will sign an Executive Order (EO) that includes more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care, and provide support for care workers and family caregivers—the most sweeping administrative actions on care policy in history.
In response, Julie Kashen, TCF’s Director of Women’s Economic Justice and one of the nation’s leading child care experts and advocates, said the following:
“President Biden’s Executive Order today on care is historic: it uses every tool in the administrative toolbox to make high-quality care more affordable and accessible, as well as support care workers and family caregivers. The action underscores the administration’s deep commitment to building a care infrastructure that has never existed in the United States, but which families of all backgrounds desperately need.
“The Biden-Harris administration knows all too well the limitations of what can be achieved through executive action in the absence of Congress approving significant new public investments in care, yet the administration nevertheless worked tirelessly and developed outside-the-box solutions that will make a meaningful difference for families and care providers. Now, it’s up to members of Congress to take the same bold, creative approach to build a domestic care economy that truly values care and caregivers.”
Highlights of President Biden’s care EO include:
- Lowering costs for families: Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider actions to reduce or eliminate families’ co-payments for child care in CCDBG.
- Increasing pay for early educators: HHS will take steps to increase the pay and benefits for Head Start teachers and staff and implement policies so that more child care providers benefiting from CCDBG receive higher reimbursements for the children they serve.
- Include child care in federal projects: Directs federal agencies to identify which of their grant programs can support child care (and long-term care) for individuals working on federal projects, and consider requiring applicants seeking federal job-creating funds to expand access to care for their workers. (like the CHIPS NOFO)
- Executive branch as model employer: Directs the Office of Personnel Management to conduct a review of child care subsidy policy and consider setting standards for when and how federal agencies should provide child care subsidies to federal employees. Additionally, all federal agencies will review opportunities to expand employee access to child care services through federal child care centers, child care subsidies, or contracted care for providers.