Politics & Policy

The Politics of Care

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When the pandemic closed schools and daycare centers for millions of children in March 2020, it transformed many working parents into teachers and caretakers virtually overnight. COVID-19 outbreaks wreaked havoc on nursing homes, senior centers, and hospital ICUs. During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden unveiled his plan for a massive Medicaid overhaul that addresses both child and elder care as well as support for family caregivers. The new administration is also planning to expand paid family leave policies. How will these changes affect families? Do they go too far or not far enough?

A panel of experts discuss ‚Äčthe politics of care and the new policy changes planned by the Biden Administration. This USC Center for the Political Future event was in partnership with USC Center for the Changing Family and features Brencia Berry, political director of PL+US (Paid Leave For the United States); Rep. Jimmy Gomez, (D-CA); and Vicki Shabo, senior fellow of Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at New America’s Better Life Lab. Moderated by Jennifer Hook, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences professor of sociology.

Who Will Benefit

-Those who want to better understand key features of The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act
– Policy leaders hoping to address the current limitations to paid family leave in the U.S.
– Those looking to uncover how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the perception in urgency of implementing a national paid leave program

About Our Featured Faculty

Jennifer Hook (PhD University of Washington, 2006) is professor of sociology at USC. Her research areas include gender, family demography, inequality, work-family, social policy and comparative sociology. Hook focuses on how social contexts, particularly social policies and opportunities in the labor market, impact individuals and families. Her recent work examines the influence of country context on women’s employment, fathers’ time with children, and the division of household labor, as well as the impacts of state policy and practice on foster children’s outcomes and the economic vulnerability of parents involved with the child welfare system. Her research has appeared in journals including the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Journal of Marriage and Family, and the European Sociological Review.

Her book (co-authored with Becky Pettit of the University of Texas – Austin) Gendered Tradeoffs: Family, Social Policy, and Economic Inequality in Twenty-One Countries (Russell Sage Foundation 2009) was selected as a Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics in 2010. She has served on editorial board of the American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Forces, Social Problems, and Sociological Perspectives. From 2015-2018 she served as director of Graduate Studies of the Sociology Department, and returned to the role as co-director in 2020. Hook is an award-winning teacher and mentor. She has been awarded the Dornsife General Education Teaching Award (2014) and the USC Mentoring Award for Faculty Mentoring Graduate Students (2020).