My interest in child care started early, when I took care of infants in a child care center and did home visits with low-income Latino families in Austin, Texas. Those experiences allowed me to see firsthand the often heartbreaking challenges and trade-offs that low-income families face in trying to provide their children with a strong start. Subsequently, my passion has been to make our child care and early childhood systems work better for these families. I work to bring the complexities of real people’s lives to the policy debate and to translate them into pragmatic policy solutions that make sense for families as well as for the policymakers, practitioners, and service providers working on their behalf.
Gina Adams is a senior fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population and directs the Urban Institute’s Low-Income Working Families and Kids in Context initiatives. Her research spans a range of issues that affect the well-being of children and families. She is a national expert on child care and early education, focusing on the broad range of policies and programs affecting the affordability, quality, and supply of child care and early education, and factors affecting the ability of families with lower incomes to access and participate in these services. Adams led seminal work on how parents, providers, and caseworkers experience these programs, which helped inform the “family friendly” and “provider friendly” provisions of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Fund. In recent years, she has broadened her focus to encompass a wider range of policies, including breaking down silos between child care and early childhood policies and other systems that support child and family well-being, as well as understanding the range of supports needed to stabilize children and families.
Adams has worked closely with a wide range of policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders. She has published extensively and presented to audiences ranging from child care providers and parents to Congress. Before joining Urban, she directed child care research at the Children’s Defense Fund, analyzed children’s issues at the Congressional Budget Office, taught infants and toddlers in a child care center, and conducted home visits with Latino families with low incomes.
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