Dismantling Defaults

Designing Social Policy That Moves All Families Forward

Photo: Shutterstock

All families need the same thing to thrive; security, opportunity, and time to connect with each other and their community. Yet, the advantages and disadvantages tied to a family's socio-economic status assure that these universal needs are unevenly met. As a result, a child's ability to learn, grow, and chart her own path in the world is as much a product of the circumstances of her birth as her own effort, ability, and aspirations. 

While there is an extensive policy infrastructure that should help the families falling short to gain ground, in fact, this infrastructure is weakest and least accessible for the families who need it most, further stratifying existing inequalities.

Our session explored the ways that socio-economic status and public policy create de facto defaults for a child's life trajectory and propose a new vision for designing social policy to support the universal need for security, opportunity, and time that all families share.