From infants to elders, every family is likely to need care support at some point in their lifetime. However, the costs associated with care for children, for older adults, and for people with disabilities are beyond the means of many families –and growing. Over the past fifty years, dependent care costs have imposed increasingly hefty financial burdens on families. This is true whether the family is providing the care themselves or paying for professional services, such as childcare or long-term services and support. Furthermore, the economic and non-economic costs related to caregiving tend to be greater for women, who spend twice as much time providing care than men, as well as for people of color and people with disabilities. These costs can dramatically distort household finances, harming cashflows on both the income and expense sides and impeding or destroying savings. Dependent care intersects with many important issues that shape family financial security, signaling the need for deeper understanding and for key stakeholders to take action.
The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program will be hosted an invitation only roundtable discussion on January 22nd with thought leaders across the dependent care spectrum to discuss Dependent Care as an Emerging Financial Security Challenge. Leaders worked to come to a shared understanding of the key challenges facing households and professional caregivers, explore the existing systems and supports available, highlight the greatest unmet needs, and activate stakeholder advancing promising opportunities.