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Lynette Fraga, Ph.D.

Lynette Fraga, Ph.D.
Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), has been a passionate practitioner, advocate, and leader in the field of child care and early learning for more than 25 years. Dr. Fraga’s experience in Military Child Care, higher education, federal programs, and corporate and non-profit executive leadership distinguish her as a leader with subject matter expertise. Her experience working directly with children and families, educators, national leaders and federal officials positions Child Care Aware® of America to be the nation’s leading voice on child care in policy, practice and research.
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Recent Posts

OPINION: We can longer afford to neglect child care providers and our littlest learners

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on March 23, 2022

The Hechinger Report

Op-ed by CCAoA CEO Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D. and Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, a pediatrician and social epidemiologist, an associate professor at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, and Vice President of CCAoA's Board of Directors.

Who will care for our nation’s children as we seek to recover economically?

Our parents, early learning providers and program administrators are overwhelmed, overburdened and under-resourced, and our kids are feeling the impact. Cumulatively, this puts the mental health of all at stake.

Too many parents also struggle to pay for child care. Children get the care their parents can afford, and the costs rival those of in-state college tuition. All the while, early educators manage the costs of providing care through low wages and strained working conditions. Quality suffers.

We must transform our approach to child care and early childhood education.

Read the full op-ed.

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Guest Opinion: Ensuring early childhood systems work

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on June 08, 2021

Boulder Daily Camera (CO)

By Taran Schneider and Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.

Colorado has a unique opportunity to support its families and strengthen its economic recovery by taking advantage of recent unprecedented investments in early learning. In the past year, Colorado voters widely supported Proposition EE by a 2-1 margin, which will drive funding to support voluntary universal preschool and, at the same time, historic amounts of federal relief funding have been allocated for child care. With widespread support and increased funding, there is no better time for Colorado to transform the early childhood system into one that takes an innovative and equitable approach in serving families, providers, and children.

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Our second COVID summer: Finding care and enrichment opportunities for your school-age child

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on April 23, 2021

Afterschool Snack (blog of the Afterschool Alliance)

By Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America, and Mindy Bennett, Deputy Chief of Membership & Programs at Child Care Aware® of America

It is tough to imagine a summer for our school-age children as so many of us are grappling with decisions about their current school options in an ongoing pandemic. However, as we are gaining hope in vaccine access and safe returns to in-person schooling, it must be said that summer is right around the corner, and it is not too soon to start planning how your school-age child will spend their days.  

While your need for child care may be year-round, summertime offers special opportunities as well as challenges. Summer child care arrangements can help your child develop responsibility and independence while also providing enriching hands-on learning experiences. This is especially important for children that have been experiencing virtual schooling for the past year.  

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Celebrate International Women’s Day by Supporting Child Care

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on March 08, 2021

MomsRising blog

On International Women’s Day (March 8), and during Women’s History Month, we call attention to and celebrate the contributions of women throughout history and in our own lives. However, we must acknowledge the inequities and biases found in our society that women continue to face. We must also recognize the intersectionality of race and gender and commit to address in our policies, our workplaces and our communities the structural inequities that persist.

As a mother and as an early childhood educator and advocate, I have personally experienced, seen and heard how critical child care is to American families, and how gender inequities are negatively impacting families as well as the early childhood workforce.

If we want to support women, we must direct people’s attention to changes that can transform the child care system so that it no longer perpetuates the gaps and inequities that keep children from developing to their potential, that keep parents mired in poverty and that keep providers operating on razor-thin margins.  We need to leverage equity-focused data and ensure Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) leaders are in key decision-making roles. 

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Child Care is Essential for Economic Recovery

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on December 25, 2020

Giving Compass

By Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.

When COVID-19 was layered onto the already fragile child care system, it shattered. Many providers remain closed or are in danger of closing, parents are struggling to find child care arrangements that will allow them to work productively, and without a reliable, steady workforce, our country will not recover economically from the pandemic-related shutdown. 

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The COVID-19 math doesn’t work for Washington’s child care providers

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on October 25, 2020

Spokane Spokesman-Review

Op-ed by Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware of America, and Deeann Puffert, CEO of Child Care Aware of Washington.

This is a critical time for our economy. It is also a critical time for the most important workforce support of all – child care. Parents cannot work, no matter how essential they are, if they do not have child care for their children. Earlier this spring, nearly 6% of Washington nurses who responded to a survey reported they had to use sick time, or not work at all, due to not having child care.

Now, with many K-12 schools offering remote learning only, many more children are in need of child care who previously attended elementary schools. Yet our state’s child care programs are struggling to keep their doors open, and many have closed.


High-quality child care programs don’t just fall from the sky whenever they are needed. They are built over time upon a foundation of trust, health and safety guidelines and small business ingenuity.

That’s why Child Care Aware of America and Child Care Aware of Washington are asking Congress to invest in the long-term stability and success of our country’s child care system.

We would never expect our K-12 educational system to struggle month after month with only stopgap funding, and then expect it to be 100% ready for in-person instruction when the pandemic subsides.

We cannot expect it of our mostly privately funded child care system either.

Investments reveal what matters. Investing in America’s children, families and workforce matters.

For Washington’s and the nation’s economy to reopen after the COVID-19 threat subsides, millions of families will need safe, affordable child care. Let’s make sure it will be there for all with robust public investment.

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Advancing an Equitable and Anti-Racist Child Care System

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on September 23, 2020

Exchange Magazine

As a Mexican-American born in Arizona, I encountered racists and was subjected to racism. As a mother, I worry about my college-age son as he navigates his way in the world, including interactions with the police. As I watched George Floyd suffocate and die under the knee of a white police officer, I felt its painful pressure in my own life, and the lives of my children, parents and grandparents.

In many ways, I am the manifestation of the dreams of my grandparents—a college graduate, earning a doctorate and living her passion in her professional career. Like so many of my brothers and sisters of color, I am both deeply grateful for my family’s sacrifices and the life I have, as well as painfully aware of the subtle—and not at all subtle—ways that my skin color informs people’s interactions with me, my family and countless others.

I share this to make explicit that if we are to confront the reality of racism, implicit bias and their painful outcomes, we need to talk about them in a very personal way.

CCAoA believes that equitable early childhood education must lift up all children and support their growth and development, while providing educational advancement in partnership with families. To do so, we must acknowledge the history of our country and the disparate impact that racism, past and present, has had on generations of Black and Brown Americans. We must acknowledge the pernicious effects of historical trauma and structural racism that have resulted in cumulative adverse economic and social impacts on people of color. And we must work to ensure that our early childhood and child care systems do not perpetuate—indeed, must actively work to reverse—the racism, poverty and lack of opportunity that exists in the United States.

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Pandemic underscores the importance, inequities of child-care system

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on August 23, 2020

Seattle Times

Op-ed by Jackie Bezos, president and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation, and Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware of America.

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Coronavirus calculation: No child care, no economic recovery

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on July 14, 2020

FOX Business

The coronavirus pandemic has hit every part of our economy. But while we hear so often about prominent businesses or industries affected by this, what does not get talked about is how it has devastated an industry that has served as a glue keeping the other parts of our economy together -- child care.

The child care industry is on the ropes and we must move quickly to save it.

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Advocating for Child Care During and After a Pandemic

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on July 10, 2020

Exchange magazine

The coronavirus pandemic shows just how essential child care is.

Since March, many working parents across the country have scrambled to find alternative child care arrangements as schools and some child care providers closed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Those parents who were able to “work from home” struggled to balance work and being present for their young children, and less than 30 percent of workers can even work from home, according to the Economic Policy Institute. And while health care providers and other essential personnel put their lives on the line caring for others, who was taking care of their children?

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