Introducing the Investing in the Future of Child Care Steering Committee

By Laura Choi

The COVID-19 crisis made clear that child care is an economic necessity, enabling working parents to fully participate in the economy. Last year, the SF Fed’s Community Development team launched Investing in the Future of Child Care (IFCC), an initiative in partnership with the Low Income Investment Fund that takes a deep dive into the challenges facing the child care market as well as the investments and partnerships needed to support child care providers.

As part of our commitment to listen and learn from the communities we serve, we’re excited to introduce the IFCC Steering Committee. This diverse group of experts, representing the western states in the Twelfth Federal Reserve District and beyond, brings wide-ranging experience from the perspectives of resource and referral agencies, funders, advocates, policy makers, and researchers. Together, they embody the cross-sector, collaborative nature required to advance innovative and equitable solutions that expand access to affordable child care for lower-income families and people of color.

The steering committee will help inform the ongoing engagement and research efforts of the IFCC initiative, ensuring the work is responsive and relevant to practitioners and thought leaders focused on improving the child care system.

“We know access to child care is essential for our economy. By working and learning across states, joining together to develop solutions, and raising our collective voices, we increase our impact and likelihood of success in meeting the needs of families,” said Shelly Masur of the Council for a Strong America.

In addition to bringing deep expertise on child care operations, financing, and policy, the group also shares a commitment to pursuing strategies that are culturally relevant and promote racial and economic equity.

“This is an opportunity for communities to create and build upon culturally responsive, multi-faceted services for children that result in increased success in school, more financially self-sufficient early care and education workers, and stronger communities with a supply of excellent childcare that families and businesses can count on,” said Jerry Cutts, CEO of First Children’s Finance.

The IFCC Steering Committee also understands the importance of engaging those who are directly impacted by the work, namely working families and child care providers. As Dana Hepper of the Children’s Institute shared, “A child care system that works is critical for making progress on child well-being, racial equity, and America’s economic recovery. To create a system that works, we must work with families and providers to design it.”

Meet the IFCC Steering Committee members

  • Ashley Williams, Center for the Study of Child Care and Employment (California)
  • Beth Oppenheimer, Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho)
  • Bill Crim, United Way of Salt Lake (Utah)
  • Christy Cox, Consultant (Oregon)
  • Connie Wirz, Cook Inlet Native Head Start (Alaska)
  • Dana Hepper, Children’s Institute (Oregon)
  • Denise Tanata, Children’s Cabinet (Nevada)
  • Michael Olenick, Child Care Resource Center (California)
  • Humberto Estratalán, UNITE-LA (California)
  • Jerry Cutts, First Children’s Finance (National)
  • Jose Martinez, Chicanos por La Causa (Arizona)
  • Juanita Salinas-Aguila, Enterprise Community (Washington)
  • Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)
  • Kerrie Urosevich, Early Childhood Action Strategy (Hawaii)
  • Lani Todd, Carina (California, Washington)
  • Laura Kohn, Mission Driven Finance (California)
  • Pete Weldy, Administration for Children and Families, Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)
  • Sally McCrady, PNC Bank (National)
  • Shelly Masur, Council for a Strong America (California)
  • Susan Neufeld, Bridge Housing (California)

Seizing the opportunity before us

The child care sector is at the cross roads of both immense challenges and transformational opportunity. Strengthening the child care system with lasting, equitable solutions requires many sectors to work together. The IFCC Steering Committee will provide strategic input on the many ways community partners can leverage their resources and influence in support of a stronger child care system.

As Humberto Estratalan of UNITE-LA said, “We’re at a critical moment in our nation’s history where we can make transformative change for our most vulnerable. Let’s not waste the opportunity to dramatically alter the trajectory of millions of our youngest learners by investing in their future.”

Learn more about our Investing in the Future of Child Care initiative and join us on June 24 to explore opportunities to support the child care sector through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Federal Reserve System.

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