Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Building a Competitive Future Right from the Start

A Paid Family Leave Forum

April 25, 2012
Ford Foundation
New York, New York

In partnership with the New York State Paid Leave Coalition and A Better Balance NCCP convened a highly engaging public forum at the Ford Foundation in New York City on April 25, 2012 to advance paid family leave—increasingly known as family leave insurance. The gathering brought together more than 100 researchers, advocates, businesspeople, government officials, and others to:

  • share evidence-based research on the impacts of paid family leave on early child development and family health;
  • respond to new research that could be used to inform a high-quality paid family leave program; and
  • share ideas and strategies for winning paid family leave in New York State and the nation.

The forum agenda included two panels chosen to reflect diverse research approaches to paid family leave and the diversity of constituencies potentially benefiting from the program. The first panel addressed impacts of paid family leave for child development – including the effects of maternal employment on young children’s health and development, focusing on such issues as early brain development, attachment, breastfeeding, cognitive and social-emotional development, and school readiness.

A second panel addressed paid family leave in the context of family economic security, exploring income stability, productivity, retention, and gender equity and its implications for family health and well-being both in the short- and long-term.

Concluding the day, a third panel and participant break-out sessions brainstormed on strategies to win paid family leave/family leave insurance in the United States. Key connections were made among disparate fields and research was shared across the domains of early childhood, public health and family economic security.