New OCC Report on Supporting Working Families and Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care: Voices from the Field

January 19, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), focuses on finding innovative solutions to improve working families’ access to affordable, high-quality child care. From September through November 2019, the White House Office of Economic Initiatives partnered with ACF to convene a series of half-day Roundtables in 10 locations across the country. A critical element of those Roundtables was speaking to those most directly affected by child care access and affordability. More than 900 parents, child care providers, employers, state and local officials, and innovators discussed barriers to—and practical solutions for—improving access to child care. To gather formal input from the field, ACF issued a Request for Information in October 2019 Visit disclaimer page . HHS and White House leadership heard from stakeholder groups directly using, providing, or affected by child care. By listening, ACF increased its understanding of what steps should be taken to improve access to affordable, high-quality child care that meets the needs and preferences of working families.

This report (PDF) and executive summary (PDF), Supporting Working Families and Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care: Voices From the Field, are available to view and download via links below. Both documents provide a summary of the feedback that ACF heard from each of the stakeholder groups. Each group had varying perspectives about the barriers and possible solutions to address them. The different groups did not all agree on the necessary specific strategies, and within each of the stakeholder groups very diverse perspectives were presented. The report concludes with a summary of high-level themes expressed across all the discussions and future directions for ACF to consider.

“Even amidst a pandemic this report is still timely. The fundamental challenges of providing high-quality child care that parents can afford still exist apart from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The input from stakeholders at the Roundtables can help all of us rebuild a system that better meets the Nation’s child care needs. I would like to thank the parents; providers; employers; state, territory, Tribal, and local government officials; child care workforce and professional development specialists; those who work in the philanthropy field; and all others who participated in these Roundtables nationwide. I would especially like to thank the OCC Regional and Central Office staff, White House Office of Economic Initiatives, and OCC technical assistance providers who spent countless hours making sure that these Roundtables were valuable experiences for all involved.” – OCC Director Shannon Christian

Supporting Working Families and Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care: Voices from the Field Roundtables Report (PDF)

Supporting Working Families and Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care: Voices from the Field Executive Summary