The Pandemic Offers a Chance to Reimagine Caregiving

By Ai-jen Poo


Fortunately, a movement of caregivers has been growing alongside the simmering crisis. Led by women and women of color, the movement has been building constituency, power, and solutions from the bottom up, for decades. The Service Employees International Union won the first union contract for home care workers over 30 years ago and today represents over 750,000 home care workers. The National Domestic Workers Alliance has won legislation in 10 states and two cities, protecting the rights of nannies, housecleaners, and home care workers in the private home. Family Values at Work and a Better Balance have won paid leave and paid sick days policies in dozens of cities and states around the country. Momsrising, All Our Kin, Zero to Three, Community Change, American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and coalitions like the Early Care and Education Organizing Network, and the Child Care and Early Learning Coalition are pushing to expand access to quality child care for families. The Arc, AAPD, Alzheimer’s advocates, and the Leadership Council on Aging have long advocated for expanding access to long-term services and supports in the home for the aging and people with disabilities. Caring Across Generations, the National Alliance of Family Caregivers, and AARP together with long-time leaders like Rosalynn Carter advocate on behalf of family caregivers. Caring Across Generations helped win the first family caregiver benefit in Hawai’i and the nation’s first long-term care social insurance fund in Washington state, paving the way for a new vision for care in America, Universal Family Care, an idea that The Nation named the next big idea of 2019.

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