Aligning on a future and building a strategic action plan for systems change in childcare

Nationwide, childcare champions are finding creative solutions to provide dignified care to parents, children, and providers alike. To support and scale their efforts, we’re equipping them with tools to unite a divided landscape through a shared vision rooted in equality, abundance, and accessibility. 

In 2018, we convened a group of 13 BIPOC leaders who are beacons in the childcare ecosystem—not only as advocates, professionals, and healthcare specialists but also in their personal capacities as parents, foster parents, and caregivers. Together, their spectrum of experiences with structural racism and discrimination has inspired them to radically redefine childcare beyond the status quo.

We invited them to envision What would the brightest future of childcare look like?” and provided creative, resource-abundant spaces to explore their answers. Together, they investigated the limits of their boldest hopes and began illustrating the bigger picture. Through one-on-one interviews, group activities, and discussions, a unifying vision for childcare that transcended state lines and cultural differences emerged.

After dreaming up an irresistible vision, our collective of beacons broadened their network by welcoming additional members to form specialized cohorts. Each group tackled a distinct facet of the vision such as culture and norms, policy and revenue, praactice, and powerbuilding and organizing. They identified the mindsets and values that underpin the vision and named near-time plans required to supplant existing racist and sexist pillars of childcare. 

One of the outputs included a collection of vignettes that brought the vision to life by depicting stories of people living in this future. These stories, accessible to the public, serve to help individuals and groups cross the belief gap” and imagine how they might advance the vision in their own contexts today. 

At IDEO​.org, we believe that change will come not only when people have room to dream up the ideal—but when they can work backward to name or reframe the policies, infrastructure, and support needed to get there. By creating this future first, we can support and enable individuals and communities to move beyond incremental change and shape the roadmap and implement the necessary steps to turn their visions into reality.

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