Children climbing a rock wall at a fitness park.
SAN ANTONIO, TX - SEPTEMBER 4 & 5:  on Thursday, September 5, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. (Brandon Wade/Getty Images for RWJF)

Valuing Caregivers and Families


Care makes almost everything else in this country possible. All caregivers want the time and resources to give their families the best opportunities possible, but their vital contribution to this country so often goes unrecognized. We work to recognize the value that we see in all caregivers and in all families as they exist, so that they can secure the resources they need to raise healthy, thriving children. 

A woman and child pick fresh fruits and vegetables from a New York City Green Cart in Jamaica, Queens, NYC.

Care and Our Shared History 

Caregiving has been highly gendered and racialized in this country for centuries. This marginalization has its origins in slavery, continued through societal norms that only value economic production, and remains part of current structures and policies. Our political and social systems have not valued care because it has been delegated to those of us who have historically not been seen as deserving: women and especially women of color.

Caring for Caregivers 

To build a Culture of Health, we must create new systems that truly value children and families, and the caregivers that hold them both. Providing care has historically, and inequitably, been delegated to women and women of color. But all of us will be a caregiver or need care some day—whether to welcome the arrival of a new child, support an ailing family member, or provide care for oneself. But when that time comes, our political and social systems are intentionally designed to only support some of us.

We must value all caregivers and their work appropriately by providing a livable wage and full range of benefits including healthcare and paid time off.

Alabama 2019 - Black Belt. Land belonging to Ja'mestican Parham. His great Grandfather bought this land somewhere between 1868 and 1870 (from the Hope family). Originallly $600 was paid for 700 acres. This amount is now down to 200 acres and Ja'mestican beleives it has been taken away immorally over the years by several forces and people. It is now designated as Forest Land and Ja'mestican has planted much of it by hand. His mother Ethel Parham is seen on the right.

At RWJF we are working alongside others to bring these visions to reality.  

  • We support research on care and caregiving, and how our society can better support these critical functions 
  • Our work aims to shift inaccurate  notions of what constitutes a family, and ensure that families of all kinds, especially those that may not conform to antiquated cultural norms, are seen, understood, and valued. 
  • We support advocates pushing for changes to better center our caregiving systems on the inherent deservingness of all families to have the resources they need to thrive.  

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