Jump to:Page Content
Jane Waldfogel, Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs, Columbia University
The American family is changing, but our public policies have not kept pace. In 1967, 2/3 of American children had at least one stay-at-home parent, and only 1/3 had all their parents working. Today, because of increases in maternal employment (and single motherhood), the situation is reversed: 2/3 of children have all their parents working, and only 1/3 have a stay-at-home parent. In addition, more workers now have responsibility for elders or other dependents, due to increased longevity and smaller baby boom families. These challenges are not unique to the US, but are more acute here than in peer countries, because our public policies have not been updated to reflect them.
To meet the needs of children when parents work, and to help adults caring for the elderly or other dependents, our policies must provide more comprehensive work-family supports—paid family leave, other forms of paid leave, workplace flexibility, and child care. This is particularly true for low-income families who currently have the least access to such benefits at work and who have fewer resources with which to buy them. Why is the US such an outlier in this regard, and what might we be able to do about it?
Lunch will be provided.
An RSVP is not required as this is an open event.