On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at increasing access to child care and to long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities.

The White House said in a statement that Biden’s orders will immediately take effect and will direct federal agencies to identify which of their grant programs are capable of supporting child care and long-term care including for individuals working on federal projects. Per The Associated Press, while the order contains more than 50 directives to improve access and better working conditions for caregivers, “the directives would be funded out of existing commitments. That likely means their impact would be limited and they’d carry more of a symbolic weight about what’s possible. The Democratic president was far more ambitious in 2021 by calling to provide more than $425 billion to expand child care, improve its affordability and boost wages for caregivers.”

The White House said the cost of child care has risen 26% in the past decade and more than doubled over 30 years. Cost of care for those who are elderly or who have disabilities has risen 40% in the past decade. They described the executive order as “the most comprehensive set of executive actions any president has ever taken to improve care for hardworking families while supporting care workers and family caregivers,” and noted that “many Americans — particularly women — stay out of the workforce to care for their families, making it hard for businesses to attract and retain a skilled workforce and for the economy to grow. A BCG brief forecasts losses of $290 billion each year in gross domestic product in 2030 and beyond if the U.S. fails to address the lack of affordable child care.”

Editorial credit: Ron Adar / Shutterstock.com

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