Children climbing a rock wall at a fitness park.
Valuing Caregivers and Families


Caregiving makes almost everything in this country possible. All caregivers want the time and resources to give their families the best opportunities, but their contributions often go unrecognized and unrewarded. We work to ensure caregivers have 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 the power to uplift and transform communities. But for centuries it has been unfairly relegated to women, and especially women of color, without appropriate recognition of or compensation for their work. This is due to our country's history of slavery and persists today through societal norms that prioritize economic productivity. Together, we can transform this narrative and recognize the immeasurable value and contributions of all caregivers, especially those who have historically been marginalized.

A father and daughter flying a kite in a park.

Caregiving for Caregivers

To build a Culture of Health, we must create new systems that truly value children and families, and the caregivers who support us all. Providing care has historically, and inequitably, been delegated to women and women of color. But all of us are likely to be caregivers or need care someday—whether to welcome the arrival of a new child, support an ailing family member, or provide care for oneself.

Unfortunately, our political and social systems are intentionally designed to only support some of us when we need or provide care.We must value all caregiving work by providing a livable wage and the full range of benefits to caregivers, including healthcare and paid time off.

Child First is an evidence-based model that uses home visits and a network of community services to prevent the devastating effects of early childhood adversity. The model aims to identify children and families with serious challenges (at the earliest possible time) and connect them to well-integrated community-based resources to help them deal with the source of the stress directly: from basic needs like food and housing to issues like depression or intimate partner violence. The program, which began in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is unique among home-visiting models because it features a skilled mental health specialist as a leading part of the team. Baltic, CT

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 to better value caregiving and to ensure all families have the resources they need to thrive.

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