April is Care Workers Recognition Month – and the White House took note. 


April 11, 2024

Crystal Gail Crawford already had spent 15 years in the child care industry and was working as a nanny when the pandemic hit. “I loved my job,” she said at the White House this week. “But like many of you, I lost my job during the pandemic. And then I was in a terrible car accident – suddenly I found myself without a job and (with) chronic back pain.” 

Crystal, now a consultant in Georgia, moved home, had surgery, and was cared for by her parents.  “That’s when I realized…how important care is. It is a constant in my family. My grandmother relied on that care (from) my aunt, who was a pillar of strength. But in 2022 my aunt tragically passed away.” 

Afterwards, Crystal said, her mother stepped up to care for Crystal’s grandmother. “Care does not wait for you to finish grieving,” Crystal said, addressing a White House audience largely populated with caregivers, many of whom are union members. “Witnessing my mom’s dedication and selflessness was inspiring. Now, we all have someone in our life who inspires us with their dedication. But I want us to pause for a moment. Because in my story, that person is my mom. But in someone else’s story, that is you. So, point to yourselves. Because you are all someone’s hero.” 

April is Care Workers Recognition Month, and Crystal’s job on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C. — in addition to effectively and succinctly relating her own story – was to introduce President Biden, who she referred to as the “Child Care Champion-in-Chief.” 

For his part, Biden discussed his record on supporting caregiving during his first three years in office and his goals for what he hopes will come next. 

But the President also injected a personal account into an issue that, at some point, will affect the overwhelming majority of Americans. He remembered his own experience as a 29-year-old Senator-elect who had not even been sworn into office when he learned of a devastating car crash that killed his daughter and first wife, and left his two sons seriously injured. 

“My mother and father and sister, my brother, all moved in to help me take care of my kids,” Biden recalled before the caregiving audience. “And we ended up with my mom getting sick…the so-called sandwich generation. Look, caregivers represent the best of who we are as America. You really do. You look out for one another in America.” 

Biden linked the issue of caregiving – and how much government supports, or does not support caregiving – with the economy. “Want the best economy in the world?” he asked. “We have to have the best caregiving economy. But the cost (of care) is too high.” 

And he focused on who bore the brunt of caregiving during the pandemic – women, particularly women of color and immigrants — and the cost that they paid, in addition to women of all races and ethnicities who had to leave their jobs. 

“Two million women left their jobs to help take care of their families,” Biden said. “It hurts our whole economy to lose so much talent in the workplace and it keeps them from earning equal pay that they deserve…Women of color, immigrants, who are overworked, overlooked, and underpaid. It’s not enough just to praise them for all they are doing – we have to pay them.” 

Biden outlined what he hopes to accomplish in the coming year, noting that the typical family pays $11,000 per year, per child, for child care, and that there currently are 700,000 Americans waiting in line to receive home- and community-based services. He also reiterated his determination to make sure that the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations pay their fair share so that we can afford to invest in care infrastructure. 

Regarding that care infrastructure? Four goals: first, Biden said he will restore the expanded Child Tax Credit. Second, Biden said he will reduce child care costs so that most families will pay less than $10 a day per child, saving millions of families $7,000 a year. “That’s a lot of breathing room for young families who need it badly,” he said. 

Third, Biden said he will work to diminish the 700,000-person backlog in which many seniors and people with disabilities face in seeking home- and community-based services. “And that will mean more folks can live and work in their own communities with dignity and independence,” Biden said. “More home care workers getting better pay and the dignity they deserve. 

Fourth, Biden said he will create a national paid family and medical leave program that would provide up to 12 weeks of leave to “care for a newborn, sick loved one, or yourself without losing your income. Look, it’s about time America caught up with the rest of the world on paid leave. And folks, all this helps families, and it grows the economy.” 

Speaking to the caregivers and referring to the Georgia woman who introduced him, Biden concluded, “Crystal said, and I mean it sincerely, you all (are) somebody’s hero. That’s what I see in our nation’s caregivers. Heroes…We need you.  Together I know we can do this.” 

The Coalition on Human Needs is urging its members to send a letter to Congress, urging that members pass a substantial, permanent investment in the care economy. 

“President Biden’s FY2025 budget calls for major investments in…boosting the care economy, restoring the expanded Child Tax Credit, and investing in health care, housing, and nutrition assistance,” CHN’s letter states. “The Biden budget recognizes that when families have paid leave and child care, aging and disabled people receive direct care at home, and care workers are paid fairly, family well-being rises and the whole economy benefits.” 

You can see CHN’s letter here and be an early signer. You can see a YouTube recording of the White House event here. And you can see a fact sheet detailing the Biden Administration’s record on investing in the care economy here. 


Care economy