As the twenty-first century economy is remade through technological innovations and global competition, parents face new challenges in participating in the workforce and providing opportunities for their children. These changes have upended the traditional assumptions about what defines the family and what families need to thrive in the modern era. Rather than compensating for the challenges presented by these changing conditions, current social policy often reinforces existing advantages and disadvantages, driving inequality across generations.
The Family-Centered Social Policy initiative is a new collaborative effort launched by New America in 2014 to help reimagine social policy for the twenty-first century. The initiative’s primary objectives include assessing current conditions, exploring alternatives, and proposing forward-looking reforms to inform policy design and public discourse. The initiative is a collaborative effort, bringing together experts from various New America initiatives: Asset Building , Better Life Lab, Education Policy, Open Markets, and Open Technology Institute. The Family-Centered Social Policy Initiative is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation.
In our first report, Strengthening Ties: The Case for Building a Social Policy Centered on Families, New America analysts investigated barriers to family prosperity generated by economic, demographic, and technological changes. The focus areas of the report included the changing roles of women—and men—in the workplace, the rise of single parenthood, the rising cost of living, generational downward mobility, the decline in the number and quality of jobs, the decline of family businesses, and pressures created by digital technologies.