The US needs a human rights-focused child care agenda

March 29, 2022

The Hill

Op-ed by Mario Cardona, Chief of Policy & Practice at Child Care Aware of America and Denise Forte, interim CEO at The Education Trust, an advocate for the high academic achievement of all students, particularly those of color or living in poverty. 

The truth is that our system of child care has historically overlooked and marginalized people of color, indigenous communities, rural communities, shift workers, differently-abled children, infants and toddlers and immigrant families.

It is past time that those of us involved in justice work strive with a common purpose to build a more affordable, accessible, high-quality system of early learning. That effort is inexorably bound to making advancements toward, at minimum, racial justice, gender equity and disability rights. The principles released by the Leadership Conference are an important step, as it guides advocacy on federal activity. 

Read the full op-ed


Topics: Media Mention

Mario Cardona

Written by 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.