Convergence Convenes Diverse Leaders to Strengthen Supports for America’s Working Families
Across Ideologies and Sectors, Participants Seek Bipartisan Bridges on Family Policy
Washington, D.C., April 10, 2023 – Today, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution launched the Convergence Collaborative on Supports for Working Families. America is at a crucial juncture in the public debate over how to best support working families, with the expiration of COVID-19-related relief provisions for children, the end of Build Back Better discussions, and heightened public energy for reform across the political spectrum. Under this political climate, and divided governance, the need for consensus solutions is more acute than ever. Improving family economic security requires a thoughtful, cross-partisan, cross-sector approach.
In spring 2022, Convergence conducted a discovery and design phase to identify the overarching obstacles, areas of conflict, and potential solutions to the challenges facing working families. This process consisted of more than 75 interviews with employers, activists, state and federal policy leaders, psychologists, economists, and nonprofit providers. The inquiry focused on issues related to work and care, obstacles to reform, areas for potential consensus, and hard lines of conflict — as well as potential metrics to measure success.
As a result, in June of 2022, Convergence issued the Discovery Report on Supports for Working Families, which highlighted the immediate needs of working families across the nation and potential solutions. The Report serves as a frame for the year-long Collaborative that is now underway.
“Supporting working families is too important to be thwarted by political polarization and in-fighting,” stated Project Director Abby McCloskey. “We have an opportunity to uncover areas of shared vision and excitement as we shape a policy landscape that offers more choices and opportunity for parents and children.”
Participants in the Collaborative will work to address four main categories of challenges:
- Choices for Care
- Financial Squeeze Faced by Working Parents
- Time Squeeze Faced by Working Parents
- Insufficient Government Investment
Additionally, as the Collaborative gets underway, participants will explore four specific issues that offer potential bipartisan opportunities for change:
- Child Allowance
- Paid Parental Leave
- Time and Flexibility of Work
- Increasing Choices for Child Care for Parents and Providers
Over the course of 2023, the Convergence Collaborative on Supports for Working Families will bring together a diverse set of stakeholders across sectors and ideologies to develop trust and relational capital, and to open up new avenues for discussion and reform. Convergence will convene a select group of individuals from those interviewed during the discovery and design phase, as well as parents who can share lived experiences. The group will tackle challenges and opportunities around raising a family at the personal, community, and public policy levels.
“The success of our democracy and society is inextricably linked to the success of the more than 63 million Americans raising children in America today,” said Convergence President and CEO David Eisner. “The call to identify bipartisan solutions to the greatest challenges facing families has never been more urgent, and we are excited to see what our unique process of collaborative problem-solving uncovers.”
The Convergence Collaborative on Supports for Working Families is made possible through support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. To learn more about the project, and to read the Discovery Report that summarizes findings during the assessment period and provides the frame around which the Collaborative has formed, please visit the project webpage.
About Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
Convergence is the leading organization focused on bridging the divides to solve critical issues through collaborative problem-solving across ideological, political, and cultural lines. For more than a decade, Convergence has brought together leaders, doers, and experts—many who never thought they could talk to one another—to build trusting relationships, identify breakthrough solutions, and form unlikely alliances for constructive change on seemingly intractable issues. Our process is improving the lives of Americans and strengthening democracy for a more resilient and cooperative future. For more information, visit convergencepolicy.org.