Mario Cardona

Mario Cardona
Mario Cardona is Chief of Policy and Practice for Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), providing leadership and outreach to the government, CCAoA members and the general public on issues relating to the early care and education system. Cardona previously served in the Obama Administration as the Senior Policy Advisor for Elementary and Secondary Education on the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he led the Administration’s legislative strategy, budget proposals, and policy initiatives to advance and execute President Obama’s early and K-12 education agenda. Prior to his service in the White House, Cardona held senior roles in the U.S. Senate, including as a principal advisor to the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. While serving in Congress, Cardona wrote and led staff negotiations to pass the Child Care & Development Block Grant Act of 2014, a law that comprehensively updated the quality and safety standards in federally subsidized child care for the first time in nearly twenty years. Cardona earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a juris doctorate, with honors, from the George Washington University Law School. Cardona joined CCAoA in January 2021.

Recent Posts

CCAoA Statement on Senate Passage of Budget Reconciliation Framework

By Mario Cardona on August 11, 2021

Mario Cardona, Child Care Aware® of America’s Chief of Policy and Practice, released the following statement in response to Senate-passage of an FY22 Budget Resolution:

The Senate’s vote today paves the way for Congress to make much needed, long-term investments in child care. While this is only the first step in the budget reconciliation process, it moves us towards a comprehensive package that prioritizes the needs of families and communities.  

Now is the time to act boldly – Congress must move forward with the Senate’s full proposal, no less, and they must ensure child care and preschool funding are a priority in that package. This past year reaffirmed that child care is the work that makes all other work possible. Yet, families continue to grapple with pre-pandemic issues of affordability and accessibility, hampering their ability to return to work and impacting their children's opportunities for growth and development. 

Congress must change this dynamic through sustained, long-term funding for early learning. CCAoA urges lawmakers to use the reconciliation process to make significant investments in child care and preschool so that we can grow an affordable, accessible, and equitable child care system that values the work of caregivers, promotes children’s healthy development, and supports working families. 

Topics: Press Release

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Investments in child care facilities are critical to building a more equitable system of care

By Mario Cardona on May 14, 2021

The Hechinger Report

A little more than a month ago, President Biden announced his American Jobs Plan, which includes $25 billion to invest in facilities upgrades in child care settings and to build the supply of infant and toddler care. The plan also includes investments to replace all lead pipes and service lines in drinking water systems to ensure no child is at risk of exposure to lead. When combined with investments in making child care more affordable for families and supporting compensation for the child care workforce, these investments could have a transformative impact on the lives of children, families and providers.

Read the full op-ed.

Topics: Media Mention

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America can't afford the cost of inaction on child care

By Mario Cardona on April 30, 2021

The Hill

The pandemic and economic downturn of the past year thrust America's child care crisis into the spotlight, providing an unprecedented opportunity for lawmakers not just to stabilize the child care system, but also to dramatically improve the lives of children, families and caregivers.   

Now, as the Biden administration and Congress move swiftly to advance ambitious funding measures, we find ourselves at a crossroads.  

Read the full op-ed.

Topics: Media Mention

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If Not Now, When? It’s Time to Transform Child Care

By Mario Cardona on March 22, 2021

Morning Consult

President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan into law, granting $40 billion in child care funding and providing much-needed relief to providers, parents and children alike.

This child care relief is notable for three reasons: First, it is the largest investment this country has ever made in child care, and is roughly 20 times larger than the child care relief provided in President Barack Obama’s stimulus measure. Second, despite the investment’s size, it has been uncontroversial and has not attracted the types of criticism directed at other relief policies. Third, because it is a one-time investment, it will not be sufficient to advance longer-term transformation in the system of child care.

Congress and the administration will need to build on this investment so that communities can make permanent changes to ensure all families have access to affordable, high-quality child care.

Read the full op-ed.

Topics: Media Mention

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